Ikea’s research and development arm Space10 has developed a system which promises to allow communities to become energy self-sufficient.
The furniture retailer has revealed its SolarVille concept, a miniature model of a village which serves as proof of concept for its clean, self-sufficient energy solution which it thinks could help end energy poverty.
The concept utilises microgrids, meaning that all the buildings in the village are hardwired together and can easily share energy between them.
Using blockchain technology buildings which produce excess energy by either using less or installing more solar panels, which Ikea already sells, can sell and trade it throughout their neighbourhood.
Its 1:50 scale model demonstrated in real time how this system would work, with those buildings needing more energy automatically purchasing it from those who have excess.
Though it is currently only a model, Ikea says the concept is fully scalable, and it is thought it could indicate a push by the retail giant to expand its solar panel and battery business.
“Centralised energy systems are often too slow and economically inadequate to reach the billion people who remain locked in energy poverty,” Space10’s creative director Bas Van De Poel said.
“The SolarVille project showcases that, when working in tandem, technologies such as solar panels, micro-grids and blockchain open new opportunities: off-grid systems allowing people to leapfrog traditional grid electricity.”
Ikea group’s chief executive Torbjörn Lööf added: “We are curious and always looking for innovative ideas that can help more people live a better life within the limits of the planet.
“Space10 gives us new perspectives, discovering new opportunities within many different areas. It will be very interesting to learn how this combination of new technology and solar energy solutions can make lives better for many people.”