The energy industry of the future will be decentralized, renewable and digital. This transformation creates new opportunities for utility companies that are ready to offer services above and beyond just selling and billing for power. The first companies have already developed leasing models for photovoltaic installations. Municipal energy service providers are installing photovoltaic systems on the roofs of their customers, who rent the systems and use the solar power generated. Unused power is bought by the municipal utilities.
Other municipal enterprises are cooperating with housing construction companies to sell power generated roof panels directly to the tenants living below them, while still others expanding their areas of business by operating solar charging stations or renting out electric vehicles. Other projects see utilities combining local decentralized heat/power-generation units and PV systems with decentralized district storage systems.
Digitalization and renewable energies are changing the business of trading and selling electricity. The new role of utility companies will be not to generate power, but to organize and distribute it – making them no longer energy suppliers, but rather energy brokers. One German municipal utility has already launched a green power trading center, where the transactions are carried out using blockchain technology. Customers can obtain their electricity from local green power providers and create their own energy mix. Acting as an intermediary between producers and consumers, the municipal utility takes care of the billing.