Senoko pilot project to enable individuals, firms in Singapore to buy and sell solar energy

SolarShare enables the matching of almost real-time energy generation and energy usage, tracked using smart meters. PHOTO: SENOKO ENERGY

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Individuals and companies in Singapore will soon be able to buy and sell solar energy with one another to power their homes and businesses, if a joint pilot project involving power generation company Senoko Energy proves successful.

On Tuesday (July 21), Senoko Energy launched the six-month pilot to introduce peer-to-peer (P2P) trading of renewable energy in the city-state, in collaboration with Singapore energy innovation firm Electrify as well as Engie Factory, the venture arm of French multinational electric utility firm Engie.

Sponsored by Engie Factory, the initiative will allow Singapore households and businesses to register for the P2P trading platform developed by Electrify, through Senoko Energy's new service offering SolarShare.

After registering, producers and consumers will be able to trade locally produced solar energy. SolarShare enables the matching of almost real-time energy generation and energy usage, tracked using smart meters.

Users will see "dynamic" pricing of their green electricity rates, as they can determine their own buying and selling prices through the marketplace, the three companies said in a joint press statement on Tuesday.

New and existing Senoko Energy customers can opt to participate in the pilot project, although there is an initial limit of 100 participants.

The pilot will test the potential for commercialisation of this new energy offering, with the eventual goal of rolling it out to all households and businesses in Singapore.

In P2P energy trading, electricity producers with rooftop solar panels can directly sell the excess electricity they produce to other local consumers across the network.

Electrify's trading platform will use real-time data at 30 minute intervals for users to compare the amount of energy supplied, the market demand and the prices offered.

Both residential and commercial users will be able to view the available solar producers, and choose whom to buy from based on their energy usage.

During non-daylight hours or when the supply of solar energy is limited, energy demand will continue to be met by Senoko Energy, so that there is no disruption in the physical supply of electricity.

Customers who buy green energy from the P2P platform will receive a consolidated bill from Senoko Energy at the end of each month.

Electrify's chief executive officer and co-founder, Mr Martin Lim, said its platform is "one of the very few in the world" that allows trading across a national electricity grid.

"With this technology, Singaporeans will get access to a reliable, secure and transparent platform to buy and sell renewable energy," Mr Lim added.

Senoko Energy's head of commercial division, Mr James Chong, said that adoption of the innovative concept of P2P energy trading is still in its early stages around the globe.

Senoko Energy decided to invest in SolarShare to "empower Singaporeans with greater choice in their electricity consumption" and to meet Singapore's renewable energy demand, according to Mr Chong.

A "prosumer" culture will strengthen Singapore's energy security, as producers can contribute excess energy to the grid, while consumers can choose where their electricity comes from at their preferred prices, he added.

Just over 1,200 private residential properties in Singapore have solar rooftop installations, and there is potential for as many as 65,000 installations in the country, noted Engie Factory managing director Quentin Vaquette.

"Through this pilot P2P project, we hope to encourage more Singaporeans to adopt renewables and help lower our nation's carbon footprint," Mr Vaquette said.

Interested parties can register their interest at the SolarShare site.

To participate in the trial, participants are required to also sign up for a Senoko Energy plan to meet their energy needs during non-sun hours. At the end of the six-month contract duration in the SolarShare pilot, participants can choose to continue with Senoko Energy or switch to SP Group or any other retailer.

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