In Australia, new program lets homeowners ‘rent out’ solar power and storage

Barbara Eldredge
Solar panels are seen on a rooftop in Melbourne, Australia.
Getty Images

Australians can forget Uber driving and Etsy shops. The hot new side-gig down under could soon be selling solar power. Starting this week, about 10,000 Australian homeowners are able to participate in a pilot program testing the world's first open market for monetizing rooftop renewable energy and storage.

The Distributed Energy Exchange (deX) was created by a group of energy agencies, providers, startups, and retailers to help the country take full advantage of its private solar infrastructure. Some 1.6 million Australian rooftops are already equipped to generate solar energy. The deX allows building owners to not only "rent out" their excess energy, but also the storage capacity of their batteries. A system of smart devices will monitor this distributed power grid of homes, automatically routing power where it's most needed and compensating homeowners accordingly.

"If we're going to have customers that can participate in a grid, then they need to get paid for their participation," said Phil Blythe, a deX partner, tells The Guardian. "We needed … a new way of thinking about how these decentralized grids are going to work and fundamentally, how do we do that cost-efficiently."

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