PowerMatching City created headlines last year when the first phase of the program developed an advanced smart grid connecting residents in the communities of Groningen and Hoogkerk. Now, the program, which is sponsored by six Dutch companies and three knowledge institutes, will give 40 families tablets outfitted with software that allows them to monitor and manage their energy use. It’s the first experiment of its kind to involve energy consumers on such a deep level.
“Since the consumer is not only provided with accurate insight into his energy consumption behavior, but also in the costs associated with this, he can control his own energy consumption on the basis of costs,” according to a release from the program.
The idea behind the second phase of the project is that each of the 40 experiment participants will be able to work together to achieve net zero energy consumption.
In the first phase of the program, PowerMatching City installed solar and wind generation. Each individual house is outfitted with enough rooftop solar panels to produce at least 880 kilowatt hours of electricity, according to an academic document about the project.
“The participating households will make use of a smart energy system in which the demand and supply of energy is automatically matched – not only within the households themselves, but also between the participating households,” according to the release.
The 40 participants will be able to determine where their power is coming from and who they are borrowing from.
They will receive bills that explicitly describe how they used their power, how much it cost them and how they saved. The software reports comprehensive figures down to the five-minute mark, according to the release.
The PowerMatching City program is considered revolutionary by many in the solar and renewable energy industry. It was recognized as one of the most sustainable projects in the world at the United Nations Sustainability Summit in Brazil in 2012.