Built by the developers of SolarCoin, billed as the world’s first renewable energy currency, Greeneum on Oct. 19 announced the upcoming launch of the Greeneum Network, a peer-to-peer, blockchain-based renewable energy trading platform that connects energy producers, consumers utilities, grid operators and energy traders. One day later, on Oct. 20, South Africa’s Sun Exchange announced it had raised $1.6 million from an international group of venture capital investors to continue development of what’s said to be the world’s first direct, peer-to-peer solar energy sharing platform. Akin to Airbnb or Uber, Solar Exchange is an app that serves as the user interface and gateway to an underlying blockchain-centered platform that enables community members to purchase or lease solar energy assets for as little as $10, according to a news release.
Four days after that, Manhattan Beach, California-based ImpactPPA launched a blockchain-based, peer-to-peer (P2P) solar energy project finance platform that enables community members to pitch and fund solar and renewable energy projects worldwide. ImpactPPA employs two forms of digital tokens – MPAQ tokens that establish a base of value for community members to fund projects worldwide, and NRG tokens, which in effect serve as a global form of currency that enable consumers to purchase clean, emissions-free energy.
Sun Exchange can boast of signing up 4,000 registered users – 300 of whom have leased producing photovotaic (PV) cells and generation capacity via the platform. “We operate on a first come, first served basis with only limited supply of cells for each project,” founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge told Solar Magazine. “We could have more active leases in place, but our first four solar projects sold out faster than expected and now we need to keep up with the demand.”
Sun Exchange is open to solar energy project solicitations proposals from just about all comers – individuals, communities, schools, commercial enterprises or other forms of group organizations. Proposals do need to be fully conceived, fully costed and include an assessment of energy needs.
Sun Exchange engineers then evaluate proposals and respond with a lease equipment offer, Cambridge explained. Generally speaking, Sun Exchange solar leases extend out over 20 years or more and guarantee a cost lower than alternatives suggested by project solicitors, he continued.
If we cannot beat their energy costs, we will decline the project, but the great thing about solar in places like South Africa is that all solar projects are viable provided there is a high level of self-consumption from the system.
On the flip side, those with solar PV cells to offer simply need to sign up and join Sun Exchange, then search for a project where they would like to have their solar PV cells installed. “Each project is different and we recommend that our members read the supporting materials for each project carefully to understand the risks and information about the operations that their energy is powering. This is a democratic approach to solar energy finance,” Cambridge elaborated.
Solar panels are sold by the single solar cell on the Sun Exchange platform, thereby reducing the cost of solar plant ownership to below $10, according to the company. Management touts that the company’s direct, peer-to-peer solar energy sharing platform and network “democratizes the green economy by giving retail customers around the world the chance to lease solar cells bought on their platform to medium to large solar installations in emerging markets.”
“Solar power is the most promising technology to achieve a zero-carbon future. It’s the fastest growing source of energy, but billions of people don’t own their own roof or have the capital to get it. By breaking down solar panel ownership to a single cell we reduce the cost of going solar by two orders of magnitude and we’re utilizing empty roof space in some of the sunniest cities on the planet, such as Dubai and Johannesburg,” Cambridge stated in the news release.