Australia’s largest power producer, AGL, is using its own solar energy trading platform to help customers save on electricity bills.
AGL customers with solar power can earn solar tokens to trade energy with others in the community. Solar system owners then have more control over energy use, while those without solar installations can also enjoy solar power.
The AGL Solar Exchange online marketplace gives customers more control over their energy bills. It does this by optimising their solar panels and battery systems.
How the AGL solar energy trading platform works
Customers generating more solar power than they use can sell excess energy to the grid and receive a feed-in tariff (FiT).
However, the AGL solar tokens can also be sold to family, friends and other platform users who don’t have their own solar installations.
According to AGL General Manager Energy Management Nick Ruddock, customers can choose to buy tokens at a lower price than buying power from the grid.
Households can also sell their excess solar tokens at a higher price than the solar FiT under the right conditions.
Buyers meet sellers on AGL Solar Exchange
The trial started in August this year with 220 of AGL’s Victorian customers. It’s the largest of its kind in Australia.
Only AGL customers can take part and use the AGL Solar Exchange platform. They also need to have smart meters.
Customers can buy tokens according to the amount of electricity they use. Buyers and sellers personalise their settings to trade tokens. The platform then matches buyers with sellers to form compatible deals.
In 2017 AGL also started testing a peer-to-peer solar trading program based on blockchain.
The birth of solar trading communities in Australia
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is currently funding two virtual power plants (VPPs) in South Australia.
The first trial in 2017 connected the solar batteries of 1,000 homes. This year ARENA is contributing $7.7 million to the second VPP involving 1,200 households and 10 commercial businesses.
Simply Energy in Adelaide is running the 2018 trial. It will also develop Greensync’s decentralised energy exchange (deX) platform.