Peer-to-Peer Solar MicroGrids Democratize Power

Picture of solar microgrids in use in Germany.
Solar microgrids in use in Freiburg, Germany. Photo by Andrewglaser at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

How solar microgrids work

Imagine an energy trading economy like the consumer food economy where the end-user can buy products from wherever they want.  They can use an energy purchase model like most people today, buying from whatever large provider serves their city or state. They will pay a known, stable price.

But if they want, they can participate in a homegrown, local economy. In this model, energy can come from a small business located in the next town or from a co-op around the block. It might even originate from their neighbor. The price may go up and down according to an agreement made for one day, one week, or for a month. 

Consumers even have the option of creating their own power. If they have extra, they can distribute it at a reduced rate, or even give it away to family and friends. Imagine giving away energy like you would homegrown vegetables.

Peer-to-peer smart grids using blockchain can achieve this model.  In some places, it already has.  Exergy is a microgrid platform located in Brooklyn, supporting peer-to-peer energy contracts between users through blockchain transactions.   This type of peer-to-peer economy with blockchain transactions has several advantages over previous solar models where users sold excess power back to a primary provider. 

The advantages of solar microgrids

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Green Manufacturing: Changes for a Better 2021

Manufacturers are looking to green technologies to lessen the impact on the environment and on their bottom line.

As this year comes to an end and we look toward the new one (as well as a new decade!), you may be making decisions on changes that will impact your bottom line in 2021.  One of the most impactful ways to do this is by considering green manufacturing processes and practices. Not only will these changes create a smaller imprint on the Earth’s energy reserves and limited resources, but they will also likely save you money, too.

The question of how to make manufacturing more eco-friendly is going to be a big one in the coming decades, especially as end-users increasingly demand products with transparent supply chains and smaller ecological footprints.  

Here is a list of five changes to consider. 

Consider Technological Advances

Over the last few years, several new technologies have been introduced to manufacturing that allows design and prototyping to happen off the manufacturing floor.  Using VR or AR technologies to evaluate designs or process changes will help limit waste in the real-world environment. These technologies allow your design team to start over or back up in their design process without any lost product.

Once a digital design has been perfected and analyzed on your virtual platform, you can move it to real-world prototyping, and then to your manufacturing line. Other advances like machine learning can improve your plant’s workflow by limiting downtime, improving your supply chain, and suggesting better use of human labor.  

Go Paperless to Help the Environment

Companies like Tesla–the king of green manufacturers–have thrived with paperless environments, relying instead on sets of visual work instructions.  This change creates a significant environmental impact, but more importantly, it tends to improve quality and boost productivity.  When instructions are relayed electronically, there’s no chance a worker will accidentally pull from an incorrect revision or out-of-date work order since these disappear with every update.   Fewer mistakes mean less wasted material and lower scrap rate; that lower scrap rate will have a significant impact on your costs. 

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