Jack Taylor | 07 Nov 2022
With the combination of world events and the ever-increasing problem of climate change, it’s no wonder that property owners and building managers are looking for more sustainable ways to produce energy. But for a long time, solar panels were restricted to those living in free-standing houses with a roof large enough to hold them. Thanks to the SolShare from Allume Energy – all of that has changed.
This completely unique technology allows multiple flats to connect and benefit from a single solar energy system.
So yes, solar panels for flats are possible and here’s everything you need to know.
How Can You Connect Flats to Solar Energy?
When it comes to solar panels in flats, there are a few different ways in which the energy generated can be used and how the tenants/owners can benefit.
- Option 1: Solar for Common Areas Only
- Option 2: Individual Solar Systems
- Option 3: Shared Solar with the SolShare
Here’s how they compare:
Option 1: Solar for Common Areas Only
The energy produced by solar panels on a shared rooftop can be used to power common areas in the building. This may include hall lighting, lifts, recreation areas, and hallways.
This is a simple solution and a great option if there’s limited roof space. There are three major downsides here:
- Only the energy bills for the building are reduced – individual flats don’t directly benefit from the energy produced through the rooftop solar on flats and so don’t save money on their energy bills.
- The feed-in tariff has now been significantly reduced so the systems generate very little return on investment when exporting to the grid.
- Following the release of SAP 10.2 in June 2022, PV systems that are only connected to the landlord supply no longer contribute to the SAP score of individual flats.
Option 2: Individual Solar Systems
Individual systems will be fitted to the roof and separately connected to each individual flat’s unit. Whilst this works well in some instances, space constraints, install complexity and cost make this a challenging option. It’s therefore often placed in the ‘too hard basket’ for blocks of flats with any more than 3-5 flats in the building.
With individual solar PV systems for each flat, there are also challenges around roof ownership. Which flats in the building should be given the roof space to install solar panels for their flat? And if there’s enough roof space for everyone, which flats should be connected to the solar panels that have the best solar coverage? All these issues can create a real challenge around fairness.
Option 3: Shared Solar with the SolShare
Shared solar power involves a single rooftop solar installation that can be shared between all the residents in the building and distributed when needed. The SolShare is a completely unique technology that allows multiple flats to benefit from solar energy.
In order to ensure the distribution of energy is fair, the SolShare ensures that a set quantity of solar energy is sent to every flat in the building and distributed as required. It also offers in-depth monitoring so each user knows exactly how much solar and grid power they’re using.
This is a simple, cost-effective solution and any flat with a meter can be connected to the SolShare. As well as private residences, the energy can also be used to power common areas. Anyone not interested in participating can simply opt-out.
Importantly, a SolShare solar PV system will reduce the electricity bills of every apartment in the building and contribute to each flat’s SAP score, typically increasing it by between 5-15 points.
So, How Exactly Does the SolShare Work?
Solar panels work by converting sunlight into energy. With the SolShare, each flat connected to the system can benefit from the energy produced by the solar panels which are installed on the roof or other sunny areas.
As well as enabling individual flats to access solar energy, the SolShare also ensures that a set amount of solar energy is distributed to each flat as and when they need it. This means that if some of your tenants work night shift, others work day jobs and others travel often – they will all receive their fair share of the energy when they need it, meaning they can save as much as possible when it comes to their energy bills. An added bonus is that each individual flat can choose the energy provider they’d like to go with when they need additional energy supplied by the grid.
As long as the building has a suitable roof area for the number of flats (typically under 7 floors), the SolShare can be fitted into council housing, new builds, and private blocks of flats. It can also be retrofitted into existing buildings so that everyone can benefit!
What Are The Benefits of Solar Panels in Flats?
There are a huge number of benefits to installing the SolShare into your block of flats. These are some of the most significant:
Save Money on Energy Bills
This is one of the main reasons why owners and building managers decide to install the SolShare in their building. The average flat connected to our unique technology saves 40% on their grid electricity bills. The energy generated is shared out amongst the flats whenever it’s needed most, which ensures maximum savings and consumption. Whilst it’s the tenants that will directly benefit from this each month, it can go a long way to making your building even more attractive to renters and buyers alike.
Improve Your Building’s EPC Rating
Increasing the EPC rating of properties is a major objective towards the UK’s net-zero strategies. By installing a standard SolShare system, flats can gain an extra 5-15 Standard Assessment Points. This means an EPC rating can increase by an entire grade. You can find out more about the SolShare and EPC ratings here.
The Environmental Impact
By producing your own renewable energy you’re doing a lot to decrease your carbon footprint. An average SolShare will reduce CO2 emissions by 5-6 tonnes a year.
Increase Property Value
Renewable energy is only going to get more popular and more demanded. If you decide to sell your property, buyers will be looking for flats that are powered by renewable energy. Having solar panels will make your building stand out.
Reduce Reliance on The Grid
Although they’re less common than they once were, blackouts can still happen. If you have a SolShare system that’s also connected to a battery energy storage system, your tenants may be able to keep the lights on even when the rest of the area is out. This is especially useful in emergencies.
So, Should You Be Installing Solar Panels on Your Flats?
Whether you’re a housing association, landlord, building manager or developer, there are a number of advantages to installing solar panels on your apartment building. With the industry-first technology from Allume, multiple flats in a building can benefit from and share the solar energy generated by the SolShare. There’s no need for multiple systems or to make it more expensive for those wanting to take part.
It’s a simple and affordable solution and the world’s only hardware that allows solar sharing within a single block of flats.
Contact the team at Allume to see how your flat or building can benefit from the SolShare.