Our readers know that Alvin Toffler invented the word, but I might be the first person to "verb" it. From our friends at Wikipedia:
The term [Prosumer] has ... taken on multiple meanings in business and economics: the business sector sees the prosumer (professional–consumer) as a market segment, whereas economists see the prosumer (producer–consumer) as having greater independence from the mainstream economy. These differing meanings often describe the same people; consumers unusually interested in the products.
Most recently, the term prosumer has come to refer to the producing-consumer energy player, who uses home-grown energy production not so much to get off the grid, but to become a two-way producing-consumer who sells any un-used energy to the grid.
The beauty of prosuming is the control it gives you. Instead of waiting for utilities to modify their energy portfolios, instead of worrying about which solar ventures will perform well enough in the marketplace, instead of depending on others -- prosuming gives you the opportunity to do something yourself. Make your own choice. Negotiate your own deal. Manage, measure and ensure your own results. Relieve a tiny bit of your sustainability anxiety. Power to the people!:)
Prosuming is on my mind as we spotlight today's SMART innovation story with Tom Dinkels, CEO of SunReports.com. SunReports is a can-do company which gives today's solar prosumer the tools they need to can-be successful energy producers. It then goes on to give today's prosumer the tools they need to share their success with their friends, through a novel integration with Facebook. That's right - Gain your own energy independence! And then talk about it with your friends!
After all, without SunReports' Facebook App, it is primarily only your neighbors whose solar installations you see, and only your neighbors with whom you get to kick up the "where did you get your solar?" conversations.
Which reminds me -- since the initial obstacles to outfitting Victorian homes with solar panels were lifted a few years ago, both my neighbor on the left and soon my neighbor on the right, are prosuming away. My husband and I are starting to feel the heat (pun intended). Time to re-engage our local installer companies. We have some prosumer catching up to do!