The UK’s first energy trading community platform is to be tested on Hackney’s Banister House estate in a bid lower energy costs for local residents.
The platform has been created by the artificial intelligence start-up Verv in collaboration with Repowering London, using a blockchain-based system.
It will support the work of Banister House Solar, which was set up in 2015, to install PV panels on 17 of the blocks of flats on the estate.
A smart home hub will be installed into 40 participating flats early next year, which will allow solar energy to be traded between residents.
The hub will also provide real-time updates on the cost of running appliances and safety alerts if an appliance is left on for a long time.
The project has received a government grant of more than £100,000 to help support Ofgem’s research into blockchain.
It has also been supported by the UCL Energy Institute.
The chief executive of Verv, Peter Davies said the project is a “fantastic opportunity to bring to life just how much this peer-to-peer infrastructure can benefit areas such as social housing”.
“A company, our goal is to eradicate fuel poverty and by partnering with Repowering to put Verv 2.0 into Banister House to enable the sharing of clean energy at affordable prices, we are moving one step closer to making that happen,” added Davies.
“The fact that we will be physically trading energy for the first time is a very exciting project.”
Repowering London’s energy efficiency and community engagement officer, Jack Dangerfield, said residents have “always asked if there could be a way to use clean renewable energy themselves”.
“Frustratingly, due to the structure of the UK electricity market, this has not been possible so far, and the majority of the electricity is exported to the grid,” he added.
“We’re delighted to be working alongside Verv, who are providing residents with the means to take the first steps to overcome this challenge, and start powering their community with sunshine.”