Early Adopter Use Case: Blockchain Energizes Solar Company’s Business
Posted by: Emily Houghton, Industry Marketing Lead
Blockchain is one of the most hyped technologies around, and forward-thinking organizations are already finding ways to take advantage of the distributed ledger, and not just in the most commonly cited industries like financial services and supply chain.
Solar Site Design provides a collaborative platform built to gather information about solar projects. It’s been a NetSuite customer since 2007 and is one of the first companies to take advantage of the integration between NetSuite and Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service.
“Energy is going through what we call the next industrial revolution,” Jason Loyet, CEO of Solar Site Design, said. “We are driving down the cost of equipment, engineering and design, resulting in more energy projects and more competition.”
Loyet and Nathaniel Enders, Co-Founder of the Energy Blockchain Network, a blockchain consortium, demonstrated how they are innovating in the solar industry using distributed ledger technology in the final installment of NetSuite’s Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Webinar Series, “Using DLT to Scale.”
When is blockchain the right fit?
Enders urges companies considering blockchain or distributed ledger technology to think of them just like any other IT infrastructure.
“You need to look at the business and understand what the problem is, who the user is and what the network needs to look like,” he advised, adding that blockchain will not be right for everyone, but, “If you have multiple parties across organizations or countries that all need to have visibility into a set of transactions on a common ledger…then it might be a fit.”
Why blockchain for Solar Site Design
Solar Site Design helped found the Energy Blockchain Network in 2018 to solve a unique challenge. With its collaborative platform, Solar Site Design works with multiple parties that work independently, but each party delivers value at different stages and is compensated for that value on different terms.
“We needed an immutable record for the state of a project, so that everyone—all the stakeholders in that ecosystem—could go to one place and see where that project was at,” Enders said.
Immutability, one of the key characteristics of the blockchain, is the idea that records are tamper-proof and cannot be changed once stored on the blockchain. When working in an ecosystem of independents, this is essential. With blockchain, the trust that is established between Solar Site Design and any of its sub-contractors is controlled by the system rather than any of the individuals involved.
“What we can do with the blockchain is precisely program in what each state of the project is and what is required to help move that state forward so that the next party can participate,” Enders explained. “Then, we can automatically program in reward distributions for the value contributions. The ability to reward and incentivize participants earlier for the value they deliver is critical to efficiency.”
NetSuite and the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service
Solar Site Design’s blockchain application is built on the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service (OBCS), a private and comprehensive distributed ledger cloud platform. OBCS features a turnkey administrative console that allows users to set up a blockchain without being forced into the open source community. Moreover, the solution is delivered by Oracle as a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), so that customers are not burdened by infrastructure maintenance or security.
“We are really happy how the [NetSuite] SuiteCloud platform enables easy integration with our Blockchain apps on OBCS,” Loyet said. “It’s really exciting how we can leverage the existing ways that we are using NetSuite to explore new ways to develop smart contracts and manage the projects and reward programs within blockchain.”
Inherent features of the cloud have been essential to Solar Site Design’s model as well.
“The anytime, anywhere access allows for anyone on our team or any of our engineers to access full details of a project and update statuses,” Loyet said. “That’s been really important for us and it’s very scalable.”
The promise of blockchain
Setting aside cryptocurrency, blockchain growth in the enterprise market across various industries looks encouraging. Indeed, Gartner predicts that blockchain will create $176 billion of business value-add by 2025.
“There is a whole myriad of energy applications and downstream use cases that [blockchain] can unlock," Enders said.
Early adopters like Solar Site Design recognize the value of distributed ledger technology and are paving the way for other companies and industries. However, Loyet recognizes the importance of having a flexible infrastructure in place to innovate on.
“We have really aggressive aspirations and we know NetSuite is the right architecture to build our platform on and scale,” he said. “We’re looking at the global ways we can manage the projects and set up the trust and smart contracts to enable our next phase of growth.”
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