Distributed systems that combine solar PV, on-site battery storage, and demand response to utility or prices signals are an example of a disruptive low carbon innovation relating to electricity supply. These systems enable customers to ‘defect’ from the grid as the combination of generation, storage, and flexible demand can reduce or eliminate reliance on centralised electricity supply. These systems can be combined with control software for peer-to-peer trading of surplus electricity at a local or community scale, again bypassing utility services. Distributed systems perform poorly on valued mainstream attributes such as passivity (with respect to electricity supplies), ubiquity, convenience, and low costs. Rather, they offer novel attributes to end users including autonomy, active ‘doing’ in co-producing useful services, and control.