IKEA has designed a miniature village that completely self-sustaining when it comes to electricity. Every house has solar panels, and when one house needs more energy than it produces, it can buy from other households through blockchain technology. All the houses in the village are hardwired into a microgrid for energy sharing, which is scalable and can be applied to the real world.
According to the creators, it’s quite simple to create such a town. Sunshine is everywhere, and we can catch it with solar panels. You’d need to install a storage system to have energy on a cloudy day, and all the houses need to be connected through – for example – electricity wires. Blockchain technology can help with the distribution of the created energy, and the best thing is that energy and money stays within a community. However, it’s quite obvious that this type of town doesn’t exist yet.
Coal and gas installations are already installed and functioning. They will keep producing energy as long as they remain profitable, this makes the need for solar energy less demanding. Even though solar panels are becoming quite affordable, storage of electricity is still relatively expensive. The researchers think this type of energy distribution is something that will happen in the near future.
The research project is called SolarVille, and is setup by creative agency Space10 and supported by IKEA. The creative company is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The SolarVille model is being exhibited until March 29th.
Also published on Medium.