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Blockchain Solar: The Future of Energy Distribution

Apr 18, 2019

You have probably heard something about blockchain technology, or distributed architecture. Or, at least, somewhere along the line you’ve heard about cryptocurrency. It’s a complicated idea, but it’s actually been around for longer than you may think. And it’s something that’s only growing in popularity in the tech world.

So, what is blockchain technology? And why are we even talking about it?

Blockchain technology is a constantly evolving system — one that is built around adapting to the future demand and usage of a resource. In cryptocurrency — the most popular example is Bitcoin — it’s a system of creating a currency that grows and adapts based on how many people use it and how many people accept payment for it. 

It’s a combination of computers linked together, each part decentralized instead of having a central governing source. It means each computer that hosts that technology is hosting the exact same information, and it doesn’t rely on a single source to hold it. So, in the world of Bitcoin, thousands of computers and servers around the globe host and process the currency’s usage, value, and ownership — so if one computer goes down, all the others remain standing. Everything keeps running smoothly and reliably, making sure the currency is safe — unlike a central bank that, if compromised, could wipe out everyone’s accounts.

In essence, that means blockchain technology operates by storing, processing, and distributing information through a harmonious network rather than a single source — making technology decentralized, as well as more reliable and secure.

But it’s not just in random things like cryptocurrency. This technology makes up the brains behind all sorts of technologies we use today. For example, if you use Google Docs or Microsoft Word today, you’ll notice: just a few years ago, only one person could write or create a document at one time. To collaborate, you had to save and share with someone else. Today, two or more people can work on a document together, in real-time. It’s thanks to decentralized distributed architecture that supports and processes that information. It’s thanks to blockchain technology.

Imagine if your home’s solar system was smart enough to adapt to any situation — from a panel breaking to the grid going down — and still keep on running.

It may sound a bit crazy, but we love the idea of bringing blockchain technology to the world of solar energy. Because imagine if your home’s solar system was smart enough to adapt to any situation — from a panel breaking to the grid going down — and still keep on running.

That’s why we are building Ensemble to be the blockchain technology that drives a new phase in solar power. In traditional solar setups, if one component crashes, the whole system goes with it. So if your inverter shorts out, you won’t produce solar energy until it’s fixed. But with Ensemble, each component — each individual microinverter, the monitoring software, the storage —  having independent “brains” that can adapt and keep on running even if one part of the system goes down. And at the same time, they can keep running in a secure and efficient manner.  

Is it all sounding futuristic, maybe over your heads? Don’t worry, it was over our heads when our amazing team of engineers first started talking about it. But like most great new technology, we adapt to it as much as it adapts to us — and, eventually, it’ll make perfect sense. So for now, as we all anticipate the near-arrival of Ensemble and IQ8, just know this: the future of solar is on the horizon. It means a more efficient, more secure, more reliable energy production, usage, and storage. And it means your investment in new solar will evolve and adapt along with you — changing course when it needs to based on your needs and whatever is in its path, instead of simply running in one direction for as long as it can.

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