Energy will be the next big thing in the sharing economy, as digital and technological advancements make it possible to share once-centralised services directly from peer to peer. Decentralised micro-grids can ensure better resiliency against climate disruption while enabling citizens to trade surplus of renewable electricity production with their neighbours.


Increasing frequency and strength of floods, storms, and other extreme weather events are disrupting energy systems and causing mass power outages for urban residents. In response, decentralised energy systems that can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously are emerging to provide more resilience in the energy supply.

Decentralised energy sharing is an opportunity space in which micro-grids play a key role, as they provide flexibility and improve the ability to respond to rapid fluctuations in the supply-demand balance. The rise of blockchain technology, which facilitates secure local trading of electricity on a decentralized grid, can further shape the opportunity to transform the power grid into a decentralised network, allowing households to trade electricity without a middleman.

Products in this new decentralised energy market encompass solar panels, smart meters, and other smart devices and software to manage energy flows and ensure flexibility. Services in the opportunity space include solar storage community platforms, cloud platforms that enable energy sharing, and software to manage transactions.

Another potential service in this opportunity space is connecting several micro-grids in a larger grid so the network will function as a virtual power plant, connecting sprawling networks of independent batteries, solar panels, and energy-efficient buildings and remotely controlling them with software and data systems.

Blockchain and decentralized energy sharing have the potential to break down the distinction between producers and consumers. Historically, utilities have had a one-way relationship with bill payers, but the growing adoption of home-solar systems re-shapes this relationship. Consumers become ‘prosumers’ who generate their own electricity and either sell it back to the utility, or sell their excess electricity directly to their neighbours, effectively cutting out the utility.

The worldwide market for community resiliency micro-grids is expected to expand from 162.9 million USD in 2015 to 1.4 billion USD by 2024. For the broader micro-grid market, revenue may reach 40 billion USD by 2020.

An important demand driver is the rise of the energy literate consumer, the growing consumer segment that has a perspective beyond price. They are aware of and concerned about where their energy comes from. Combined with rising energy costs and declining costs of micro generation technology such as solar panels, small-scale wind turbines, and energy storage, these conscious consumers are driving governments and citizens to increase investment in a variety of distributed energy sources.

One enabler of this opportunity space is the battery storage market. The battery market is marked by high-demand, and the manufacturing cost for batteries is on the decline, making it more accessible to consumers.

Key Numbers


solar panels have dropped in price per year since 1980


Up to 12% of Belgian households are already prosumers


is the expected market for community micro-grids in 2024


SDGs - Business of Power

Solutions for this Opportunity

Produce and trade energy locally

The Brooklyn Microgrid is a community microgrid where individuals can buy and sell renewable energy from residential rooftop solar installations.
Location: USA See this solution

Solar loan for resiliency

Solar and battery financing through Mosaic enables people to have access to affordable solar loans.
Location: USA See this solution

Transacting local energy with neighbours

TransActive Grid enables members to buy and sell energy from each other, using smart contracts and the blockchain.
Location: USA See this solution

Bring local renewable electricity to life

Piclo, from Good Energy and Open Utility, is a peer-to-peer energy matching platform for renewables.
Location: UKSee this solution

The Airbnb for energy

Through the Airbnb for energy, Vandebron, consumers can buy electricity directly from independent producers, such as farmers with wind turbines in their fields.
Location: The Netherlands See this solution

Energy Community

The sonnenCommunity is a community of sonnenBatterie owners, as a member you can share your self-produced energy with other members.
Location: EU See this solution

All power to the producers and consumers

Power Ledger allows renewable energy asset owners to sell their surplus energy – using Blockchain.
Location: Australia See this solution

Peer to peer power

Auckland-based P2 Power developed the technology, named SolarShare, to enable those who don’t have solar panels to buy solar power.
Location: New Zealand See this solution



The business of power is the most preferred opportunity in Sub Saharan Africa as well as in the MENA region, while it is also rated highly by leaders in India and South America. The opportunity represents the market for delivering renewable energy via decentralised grids, by, for example, using blockchain technology.

Capacity to Grow the Market

It is clear from the survey the market for decentralised energy can be expected to mature most rapidly in India. Indian leaders perceive all the ingredients for market growth, including technological and economical capacity, to be readily available in the Indian market. Another market to keep an eye on is Sub Saharan Africa, which may leapfrog into a green transition through decentralised power delivery, according to the survey. The survey also indicates leaders in Sub Saharan Africa are confident the technological capacity to grow a decentralised energy market is readily available in their region.

Opportunity Business Case

Respondents from China and the MENA region are among the leaders most confident the opportunity will have a great impact on business. Additionally, the opportunity embodies the strongest business case of all opportunities, according to Indian leaders. This indicates the Indian market for decentralised energy provision will mature rapidly.

Sector Impact

According to the survey, the service industry and the public sector expect this opportunity to provide the most positive impact on society, while the manufacturing and “other” sectors are most likely to pursue it.

In addition, the survey indicates we can expect partnerships to form between civil society and business to accelerate the market for decentralised energy further, especially in India and in Sub Saharan Africa. In both regions, respondents expect business and civil society to be strong and active advocates for the decentralised energy market space.


Perceived benefits from pursuing this opportunity (x), and capacity to do so (y), World and geographic regions. Scale goes from -10 to +10.



Across geographic regions. Scale goes from -10 to +10.


Across business sectors regions. Scale goes from -10 to +10.

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