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Blockchain — SunContract’s principal technology driving the energy transition revolution

Posted by SunContract on 09-Apr-2019 01:18:05

Electric power systems around the world are rapidly changing. For over a century, these systems have relied largely on centralized, fossil fuel plants to generate electricity to end users. Utilities had a straightforward objective: to provide electricity with high reliability.

SunContract Marketplace 

Climate changes urged governments to set a new ambition for electric power systems. The way it works is requiring those systems to rely heavily on volatile wind and solar power; several are also aiming for an increase in number of electric vehicles (EVs), which can strain grids. Further complicating the matter, customers are installing their own equipment — from solar panels to batteries and smart appliances — to control their production and consumption of electricity.

As utilities struggle to sustain reliable services, meet new policy objectives, and cope with rising complexity, innovators are peddling a solution: blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is transforming energy production and distribution but of late it’s been getting a bad rap. Many news reports have focused on how much energy is being used by proof of work to validate transactions and generate Bitcoin. But Bitcoin is not the only use of blockchain.

Blockchain is a software technology that can enable many things, including the secure communication of important information such as financial or energy transactions. At SunContract, our decades of combined experience in the energy sector has given us deeper insight into how the traditional market operates and what needs to change. We strongly believe that blockchain tech offers many solutions to challenges we experience in the conventional energy market. So, what exactly are some of these challenges?

Challenges in energy today:

The current energy market:

❌ Lacks transparency

❌ Is inefficient

❌ Is still fairly centralised

❌ Is detrimental to the environment

❌ Deprives users of autonomy

 

How SunContract is solving these issues using the blockchain:

SunContract Graphic Visualization of Business Model

 Transparency

The SunContract platform is gaining a lot of trust from our users due to the tamper-proof audit trail of data they have constant access to on the platform. Users on the platform have instant access to consumption and production insights which are also immutable thanks to blockchain technology.

Efficiency

Transparency of the platform breeds credibility among users and in this instance removes the need for intermediaries whose role has often been to create trust in a chain of transactions or in the exchange of information. This offers huge productivity and efficiency savings, as well as ridding SunContract and its customers of unnecessary paper trails. Basically, never again do any two related sets of data need to be reconciled separately because it is all listed and peer reviewed on the distributed blockchain ledger.

Decentralisation

Our company’s business model directly connects peers in an open energy marketplace, eliminating the middleman company, for P2P electricity trading to occur efficiently between the two parties, without the need for an intermediary.

A focus on renewables

The SunContract platform has an array of options for its users when it comes to energy consumption and production. Solar, hydro, wind energy options are currently available on the platform with more options to become available in the near and long term. Users can not only use renewables, they can also hone in on exactly which forms of renewable energy they wish to consume on the platform.

Autonomy for users on the SunContract platform

Before, the producer would sell his energy at a less than optimal price to a middleman company who would then make a profit by selling this energy to an end consumer. Producers and consumers had little to no control on the price that they purchased or sold their electricity at.

With SunContract, the producer and consumer directly influence the buying and selling price. The result of the agreement is a lower price for the consumer and also a higher price for the producer than if he sold it to a middleman company. Because they are equipped with some level of control, the consumer incurs electricity cost savings while the producer becomes more profitable and can break even much faster on the costs of his production assets.

Members of SunContract community in Slovenia, April 2018

We can’t do this alone…

What strikes us at SunContract is that we could not have come this far without the efforts, support and partnerships of so many of you — and we mean that! It is basically impossible for us to push this notion of sustainable self-sufficiency without our:

📌 Users on the platform

  • Household producers and consumers
  • Business producers and consumers

📌 Partners in the jurisdictions we operate

  • SONCE in Slovenia
  • Tecnoapp in Italy

📌 Blockchain partners who work with us continually

  • Microsoft

📌 Supporters who made this project possible through funding

Indeed, we are fortunate to collaborate with many members of our community on a range of issues and opportunities that help us achieve our mission.

But it won’t happen overnight…

Even with the massive support we receive from each and every one who has taken an active and passive role in the SunContract project, it would be naive to believe results will be achieved overnight. The energy sector is a heavily regulated one that will require some amendments for companies like ours to fully maximise our sustainability and technological potential.

 

However, even these regulations are slowly beginning to shift in our favour. For example, the Members of the European Parliament have recently approved new EU laws on renewable energy and energy efficiency which will help consumers to benefit from the energy transition and shows strong commitment to solar and our clean energy future. New 32% renewable energy target by 2030 will significantly boost solar deployment and add thousands of new local solar jobs in Europe.

For instance, on renewable energy, households now have a right enshrined in EU law to produce electricity using solar panels, sell any excess production to the grid and get a market price for it.

The law also creates contact points to advise and support people interested in installing solar panels on administrative and permitting procedures, a major barrier until now because of the sometimes-complicated procedures in place. Another important measure is that the law prevents Member States from applying charges, such as the Spanish ‘tax on the sun’, on electricity produced by households.

We do not believe in artificial growth — rather steady growth that will bring all SunContract stakeholders, the environment and the energy sector benefits. At SunContract, we are not your typical energy company. We are a community that is bringing change together!

The great thing about solar energy is that: no matter what your motivation is, installing solar power plants in your home will do both of these things for you. 

Once you have a solar power plant installed, it’s pretty important for producers to be able to see how much energy their panels are producing. For SunContract customers, all you need to do is log onto SunContract's blockchain-based platform and it’s easy to see how much power your system is generating, as well as how it’s changed over the past several days, weeks, or months.

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Topics: Blog, CleanTech, P2PEnergy, Renewables, Solar Panels, Self Efficiency, Sustainability, Blockchain

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