Blockchain technology to give a competitive advantage to renewable energy co-ops

The Pylon Network has created its own cryptocurrency for use on the solar energy exchange

A team of Spanish engineers is developing a Blockchain platform to enable renewable energy co-ops to exchange the power they generate.

The Pylon Network wants to create the first open, renewable energy exchange community. Its users will be able to exchange green energy, bought directly from renewable energy co-operatives through the application of Blockchain technology and smart contracts.

To exchange the power generated from solar panels using the decentralised platform, Pylon Network has created its own cryptocurrency – Pylon Coin.

The network’s reward system is based around servers called “green miners”, said Gerard Bel, one of the founders of Pylon Network.

“The green miners are like servers validating transactions,” he explained. “As in the case of Bitcoin, the miners are big computers which solve the algorithm to secure the data,” he added.

“In our case we will implement a secure miner (server) with low-energy consumption and the energy used to run this server will come from excess renewable energy. The energy that was not used is used to maintain the servers.”

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A start-up working for energy solutions, Pylon Network was formed three years ago but only took off in 2016.

“We looked at Blockchain technology and started to analyse it and realise it’s a powerful technology to share data for interconnectedness between players,” said Mr Bel.

He said the technology means users can constantly monitor their energy consumption and be charged based on a “live” electricity price; this enables them to modify their energy habits to avoid consumption during high-price periods, reducing the cost of electricity for the co-operative.

To finance the project, Pylon Network launched an initial token sale of Blockchain cryptocurrency and will use these funds to run a pilot project with a renewable energy co-op in the Basque Country, Goiener Cooperative. The pilot will last for one year, with a limited number of customers.

Pylon-Token is based on Ethereum. The team behind Pylon Network has pre-mined 3,750,000 Pylon-Tokens, from which 3,250,000 will be offered at the token sale. The remaining 500,000 will be used to fund all operations of the project development by the team and partners.

Investors participating in the initial sale of tokens will receive a share of the pre-mined Pylon-Tokens. For the Pylon Network purposes, Pylon-Coin is used, based – this time – on the core algorithm of FairCoin a cryptocurrency developed by FairCoop.

The project is currently focused on the Spanish market but it has plans to expand to other countries, particularly the UK and Germany. There are around 20 renewable energy co-operatives operating in Spain. GoiENER is a qualified and certified player in the wholesale Spanish energy market and is supporting the project by being the first adaptors during the pilot demonstration stage through the development of the project.

Mr Bel thinks Blockchain has a strong appeal to renewable energy co-ops because it allows greater transparency and more security due its decentralisation.

“There are too many hacker attacks to big companies and this tool is perfect. You have all servers decentralised, you cannot be hacked,” he said.

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