In the midst of a climate crisis, innovators have recognized a need to shorten the proximity between energy production and energy use. Amongst these innovators are Elon Musk (Tesla), First Solar, Motech, and CropEnergies.
Tesla, formerly encompassing the subsidiary SolarCity, offers the lowest national price for solar energy and a battery that stores clean energy for reuse. First Solar uses photovoltaic (PV) technology to produce solar energy, but with the smallest carbon footprint than any other solar power.
Likewise, Motech is the leading manufacturer for PV cells, and has expanded its interests in creating entire PV power systems. CropEnergies has taken a different approach in renewable energy by using crops and plant life to create clean ethanol and other biofuels.
Keeping the lights on with a “virtual power plant”
These impressive innovators are now welcoming one of the most fascinating business model ideas from OhmConnect. OhmConnect recently received a whopping $100 million investment, amongst other investments, from Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, a spinoff of Alphabet, to create a “virtual power plant.” Envision a neighborhood acting as a collective power plant that not only pays you to reduce your carbon footprint, but also ensures no future power outages.
On a typical hot summer day—especially with the increases in temperature due to climate change—air conditioners are blasting on maximum settings. An electric grid instinctively initiates a fast-acting power plant to compensate for the expenditure of electricity.
However, the fast-acting power plant is not only costly but also damaging to the environment. OhmConnect presents a brilliant offer instead: pay the consumer to use less energy rather than turning on the fast-acting power plant.
Paying people instead of power plants
Earnings are made possible because the unused energy is sold back to the electrical grid, and OhmConnect transfers those earnings back to the consumer in the form of 1) a PayPal payment, 2) an Amazon or Target gift card, 3) an OhmConnect store credit, or 4) a donation to a charity.
And, keeping up with your savings is the easiest part. According to Fast Company, “when customers sign up for the free service, the company will occasionally send a text asking them to save energy for, say, an hour, and then gives a credit based on what they likely would have used otherwise. Customers can also opt-in to have their smart devices automatically reduce usage through the program.”
Delivering energy faster and more efficiently
Looking into the near future, OhmConnect is constructing a neighborhood in Arizona where each house has solar roofs and batteries to store power. The community acts as a virtual powerhouse in that it sends back unused energy to the electrical grid to be used by other houses when needed.
Effectively, this cuts out the need for a “peaker” power plant, which runs on coal or natural gases and is located mostly in low-income neighborhoods of color. The air pollution created by these fossil fuel plants can be avoided entirely using OhmConnect’s approach.
Implementing this, energy distribution can be met in a more environmentally safe way, and consumer demand decreases immensely. Energy is more readily available, and delivered in a faster, more efficient way.
The implication of OhmConnect is promising. In addition to the various investments in OhmConnect, they have been highly recognized by Forbes, NPR, and the U.S. Department of Education. Their innovative efforts to transform the typical electrical grid, battle climate crisis, reduce energy demand, and increase proximity of energy in a way that gives back to the consumer, are undeniably impressive.
With OhmConnect outthinking the future, there’s hope for a more sustainable life built around renewable resources.