Resident family standing near solar panels
Residents participating in the program would be able to produce solar energy or purchase it from a neighbor. (Image source: Brooklyn Microgrid website)

If you want to buy local fruits and vegetables, you can head to the farmers market. Now, a company in Brooklyn wants to make it possible to buy your energy locally, too.

The Brooklyn Microgrid connects homes in a ten square block area to the larger electricity grid. Microgrid technology is nothing new. But, LO3 Energy CEO Lawrence Orsini is pushing the technology one step further.

The Brooklyn Microgrid uses software that tracks who’s producing, using, and storing energy locally.

Orsini: “So, with those points of information, we can create a very efficient and fast-acting market.”

The technology allows community members to say what they’d pay for locally produced energy – and some are willing to pay more. It also gives people a way to sell electricity they generate through solar panels back to their community.

If successful, the approach will encourage investments in clean energy, and allow people to buy power from their neighbors.

Orsini: “If you’re buying energy from someone across the street, the odds are high that they’re taking the few dollars a month that they make and taking the kids down for ice cream cones in the community.”

So the approach gives clean energy – and the local economy – a boost.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...