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Energy trading could be a new way to help others

Getting sick, tough economic times, job losses and a range of other life circumstances can lead to people experiencing hardship. In terms of energy, this can translate into not having the means to heat or cool your home or use the standard appliances most of us take for granted every day.

If you’ve ever wanted to help someone going through a hard time, you might have taken over a meal, shared a drink, found a way to lend your support. Imagine if you could share your electricity with an individual or an organisation which could use your help. 

In 2014, this concept was floated by Gridmates, a crowd funding website on a mission to create energy sharing technology for charitable purposes. Now that peer-to-peer trading is already being tested right here in WA, there’s every chance this idea could gain more traction and more applications could be developed. 

Harnessing the power of the people in Texas 

The Gridmates software platform offers a simple way to help:

  • Any home, business or charitable organisation with solar panels is encouraged to donate part of the money they save producing their own energy to someone in need.
  • People pick a dollar amount and can see the impact that amount will have in someone else’s home, measured in hours of energy.
  • People are asked to make a tax-deductible donation through PayPal, giving anywhere from 2% to 5% of the energy they produce. 

Gridmates’ first initiative is a 27-acre master-planned complex in Austin, Texas. It has been designed to provide a supportive community with affordable and sustainable housing for around 240 homeless people. 

The complex features a mix of homes and communal spaces, workshop facilities, gardens and small farming areas and even a small market and entertainment spaces. 

The Gridmates campaign aims to generate 1,062 megawatt hours, or $85,000, to provide 150 days of energy to the 240 residents.

In Australia, we could make a difference too 

In Australia, one in five homes now have solar PV systems installed to provide renewable energy and more of our businesses, corporations and government agencies are taking advantage of opportunities to be powered by the sun. 

Our solar power market is growing, which means the capacity for people to generate more than they need – and put the excess to good use – is also expanding. It’s exciting to see how this kind of crowd funding project to share energy could make a real difference to people’s lives around the world.

Do you know how much could be saving with solar?

The average Aussie household could save up to $706 a year on electricity with a 2 KW SolarReturn system alone. Think about the future size of your bill, with batteries just around the corner.

Calculate your savings