MEDIA RELEASE – 28th March 2023
A partnership of renewable energy companies, including Allume Energy, AXITEC Energy, Clenergy and Fronius Australia, has formed to make solar energy for multi-tenant social housing buildings more affordable.
As the cost of living in Australia continues to soar, particularly the cost of energy, many Australians are struggling to make ends meet. In response, an industry initiative has stepped in to provide a more affordable solution.
With energy prices at their highest in decades, many social housing providers are increasingly concerned with finding sustainable solutions for tenants across their portfolios, but everything comes at a cost. And, until recently, it hasn’t been feasible to install solar energy on apartments, which make up a significant proportion of social housing in Australia.
Four major clean energy companies have come together to provide a solution; a reduced-cost, solar equipment package that can connect residents of multi-tenanted buildings to lower cost renewable energy.
Dubbed the ‘Solar Social Housing Package’, the initiative offers a discount on the solar panels, roof mounting equipment, smart meters and solar sharing technology required to provide apartment residents with self-generated solar energy. The total discount amounts to around $3,750, although the partnership is now negotiating to potentially offer an even better reduction.
“Allume is thrilled to work together with our associates to solve problems that matter,” commented Cameron Knox, CEO of Allume Energy. “It is crucial that apartment residents can access clean, affordable energy, particularly social housing tenants, who are often disproportionately affected by the rising cost of energy. Communities shouldn’t have to decide between putting food on the table and heating their homes.”
Andreas Boeck, Managing Director Australia at AXITEC said, “AXITEC Energy wants to give back to the social housing community, together with our other partners in this project, by providing high quality solar modules at a discounted price for people on a low income which will assist them in lowering their electricity bill.”
Samir Jacob, Global Marketing Manager commented, “the Solar Industry is powering the future with innovation and sustainability, and we at Clenergy are glad to collaborate to bring about a brighter tomorrow for our communities. Thank you Allume for having us part of your journey.”
“We could not be more excited to contribute to the Solar Social Housing Package initiative,” Mariella Doppelbauer, Managing Director at Fronius Australia explains. “At Fronius, sustainability greatly influences every decision we make. To have the opportunity to assist these tenants become more financially sustainable with clean renewable energy is a proud moment for us.”
Combined with the various grants that are available across Australian states, installing solar energy on new or existing multi-tenanted properties may become a ‘no-brainer’ for social housing providers.
Press release – 15th March 2023
Allume Energy today announced the successful commissioning of its SolShare clean energy technology at 805 Madison Street, a multifamily building owned and operated by Belhaven Residential in Jackson, Mississippi. This latest U.S. SolShare deployment will help advance solar and behind-the-meter technologies in a market underserved by renewable energy projects.
Solar Alternatives, a Louisiana-based solar contractor, installed the 22kW array at 805 Madison. Key members of the Mississippi Public Service Commission supported the project, including Central District Commissioner Brent Bailey and former Solar Innovation Fellow Alicia Brown. Entergy Mississippi, an integrated energy company that delivers electricity to 461,000 utility customers in 45 Mississippi counties, assisted with project funding. Entergy Mississippi and Belhaven Residential entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in which Entergy will provide a $6,500 grant in exchange for access to clean energy data gathered by the project.
“Belhaven Residential focuses on offering quality housing at affordable rates, and we have a holistic and long-range vision for how to serve our tenants’ needs,” said Jennifer Welch, Founder of Belhaven Residential. “Implementing solar with the goal to provide cleaner energy at affordable prices is a win for our tenants and a win for our environment.”
The installation of SolShare and rooftop solar will increase on-site clean energy consumption and lower the energy burden for Belhaven Residential complex tenants, all of whom qualify for Mississippi’s low- to moderate-income benefits under the state’s distributed generation program.
“Residential consumers and building managers continue to pursue and embrace the benefits of a more sustainable energy portfolio, and I’m excited to see the results of our new rules and the partnerships that are developing in the community,” Commissioner Brent Bailey said. “The Distributed Generation Rules provide customer-focused programs that reduce risks, reduce energy consumption, and put money back into customers’ pockets.”
SolShare is the world’s only technology for sharing rooftop solar with multiple apartments in the same building. SolShare provides a solution for multi-tenanted residents wanting to access the environmental and economic benefits of rooftop solar, and it requires no change to the existing electricity supply and metering infrastructure. Existing SolShare installations have demonstrated electricity bill savings of up to 40 percent.
“Our team is thrilled to work with the Mississippi Public Service Commission and the Belhaven Residential team to lead the transition to clean, affordable energy in Mississippi,” said Aliya Bagewadi, Director of U.S. Strategic Partnerships at Allume Energy. “By bringing more proof of SolShare technology to Jackson residents, we’re demonstrating a scalable model for more equitable access to the environmental and financial benefits of solar for multifamily housing.”
Allume Energy is an Australian-born company which launched in the U.S. with support from Elemental Excelerator. Gabriel Scheer, Director of Innovation at Elemental Excelerator, Mobility & Energy, stated, “I am so excited to see this partnership between Allume, Belhaven Residential, and Entergy Mississippi; it epitomizes Elemental’s approach working to ensure that the transition to renewable energy is a just and equitable transition by enabling low- to moderate-income residents of Belhaven Residential to participate in the energy transition while saving money.”
Energy prices continue to impact families across the country. Technologies and programs that expand access to technologies like SolShare can reduce utility bills and decarbonize multifamily housing. This is particularly critical for low-income tenants. According to the Department of Energy, Mississippi’s low income residents currently experience the nation’s highest energy burden (12% of total income). Most households in the South have electric heating and cooling systems in their homes. Those factors, along with the region’s high temperatures, drive up energy use, which contributes to a higher energy burden despite Entergy Mississippi having some of the country’s lowest electricity rates.
With Mississippi currently ranking 35th in the nation for solar adoption, Allume and its partners believe installations like the one at 805 Madison Street will serve as a scalable model for democratizing access to clean technologies and cost-saving benefits for more low-income residents across the Southeast.
Press release – 14th February 2023
Allume Energy, Wales & West Housing and the Welsh Government have today announced the first installation of Allume’s SolShare technology for the UK’s housing sector, to provide clean, affordable electricity to residential flats in Cardiff.
The project has connected 24 flats to lower cost solar energy at Odet Court, with the potential to meet 55%-75% of each flat’s electricity demand. Based on the average usage of 1800kWH – 2,400 kWh for a 1-bed flat this could equate to an electricity bill saving of around 50% (between £390 to £530) a year, per household, based on current average electricity costs in the UK of 34p/kWh. The project has been funded by the Welsh Government in association with Wales & West Housing as part of the Optimised Retrofit Programme.
SolShare is the world’s only technology for connecting multiple residential units within a single building to a single rooftop solar PV system. Until now, previous options involved installing individual solar systems into each unit – a largely unworkable solution for developers due to cost, footprint and inefficient energy utilisation. In the case of Odet Court, this would have meant installing 24 sets of panels, 24 inverters and 24 batteries.
Not only has SolShare significantly reduced the amount of hardware and footprint required, it has also saved 25% on solar equipment costs as compared to a typical solar system. Its ‘dynamic sharing’ capacity also delivers an improved solar utilisation of over 25%. Importantly, SolShare is suitable for retrofit projects as well as new builds, as it does not require any changes to the existing supply and metering infrastructure.
“Wales is leading the way with the installation of this new technology,” commented Jack Taylor, General Manager Europe, Allume Energy. “We hope it will serve as a template for governments and social housing providers in the UK to provide cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades to multi-unit residences.
“Simple and affordable solutions are available, so it’s great to see governments and housing associations embracing innovative technologies which help tackle fuel poverty and climate change.”
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This is an exciting first of its kind project for Wales and exactly the type of thinking we need to see within the housing sector.
“The decarbonisation of homes plays a big part in our journey towards a Net Zero Wales by 2050 and I look forward to following this innovative project as works progress.
“At a time when costs are rising, improving the energy efficiency of homes will not only help us to deal with the climate emergency but also help families through the cost of living crisis.
“It’s another important step in our journey towards a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.”
Joanna Davoile, Executive Director (Assets) at Wales & West Housing said: “At a time when many people are facing difficult choices of whether to heat their homes or feed themselves and their families, it is only right that we explore ways to make our homes more energy efficient for our residents where possible.”
“In recent years we have been trialling different methods of retrofitting older homes with energy-saving technologies but one of the main challenges has been how to fit PV panels and battery systems to our apartment homes so that everyone living in the schemes could equally benefit.
“The SolShare system seems to be a much fairer solution as the energy generated by the building can be shared equally to help our residents to keep their electricity costs down rather than going back to the grid.”
“We are excited to see how the technology used in the SolShare system will work for our residents.”
SolShare was developed by Allume Energy, headquartered in Australia. The technology has recently undergone rigorous review by Ofgem and has been accepted as an ‘innovation measure of substantial uplift’ for the ECO4 funding initiative. SolShare has also been specified in the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund’s Wave 1 and Wave 2.1 applications by a number of local authorities and housing associations in the UK.
This innovative solar plus battery system was installed by local solar contractor Green Park Power and will annually produce 50,248 kWh of green solar energy for the direct benefit of residents. Each flat will equally share the energy produced, resulting in 2,094 kWh per unit.
About Allume Energy
Allume’s vision is a world where everyone can access clean and affordable energy from the sun. More than 2M Australians, 15M Americans, and 300M Europeans live in low and medium rise apartment buildings, with the roof space for solar but, until recently, no way of accessing energy generated from it. We didn’t think this was fair, and so we developed a world-first technology, the SolShare, which enables the sharing of solar energy from a single rooftop solar system amongst multiple dwellings within the same building.
This breaks down the technical and ownership barriers that have historically prevented apartment residents from accessing cheaper and cleaner energy from the sun.
Our customers span a range of industries including social housing providers, multi-family landlords, property developers and apartment owners.
With an established market in Australia, Allume is now rapidly growing in the UK and the US.
About Wales & West Housing
Wales & West Housing’s vision is to achieve strong, sustainable growth to make a difference to people’s lives, homes and communities.
We manage more than 12,500 high quality, affordable homes in 14 local authority areas across North, South and West Wales.
These include more than 3,000 dedicated properties for older people as well as innovative supported housing solutions for people with a range of particular needs.
The majority of our homes are for rent, allocated by local authority social housing waiting lists.
In recent years WWH has been working with a number of organisations and Welsh Government to trial different methods of retrofitting older homes with energy-saving technologies including increased internal and external insulation, air and ground source heat pumps and solar PV and battery systems.
We are a major developer building hundreds of new high-quality, affordable homes each year for rent in areas people want to live. All our new homes are built to be energy efficient.
It was fantastic to be involved in the Energy Transition Summit in Sydney, Australia last week, which focused on the critical need to transition to sustainable energy systems, the very real challenges ahead and the collaboration across sectors that will be required on a scale that has never been seen before.
It was both a sobering day, being reminded that we have less than nine years to achieve net zero, and a day full of opportunity, highlighted by inspiring talks and reminders about this country’s potential, including for example that Australia receives approximately 10,000 times its energy consumption needs in solar radiation each year.
I spoke from the perspective of a growing business using technological innovation to solve a very real market need. For those of you that do not know Allume’s history, we were born out of a Melbourne based start-up accelerator in 2015, and today we are a rapidly growing international business with product installed in Australia, the US and the UK.
Allume’s vision is a world where everyone can access clean and affordable energy from the sun. Specifically, we are making rooftop solar accessible to multi-dwelling buildings through a world first technology called the SolShare.
In the session, evolving with the market, our panel spoke about the evolution of environmental, social and governance issues, aka ESG, being propelled to the top of the corporate agenda.
Allume was founded on very strong ESG principles. In particular the E, the reduction of carbon emissions, and the S, energy equity for all in particular social or community housing which is a key market for Allume in Australia, the US and the UK.
The real estate sector is a big carbon emitter and therefore presents a great opportunity for impact. As a business working at the coal face of providing solutions, we have born witness to the increased ESG focus from the real estate sector over the last five years. In particular, there has been a palpable acceleration in focus on ESG metrics over the past two years.
1. An evolution of community expectations and social drivers, which is feeding into investors’ expectations shifting from pure profit maximization to sustainable value creation. Many pension and superannuation funds are demanding ESG benchmarks for investment which is translating to a focus on ESG in the real estate space.
2. A generational shift as millennials start to take positions of power in industry.
3. Companies linking executive remuneration directly to ESG performance. According to industry reports released last year ~20% of S&P 500 companies in the US, ~45% FTSE 100 companies in London, and 81% of ASX 100 companies in Australia link remuneration of executives to ESG outcomes.
For Allume historically the return on investment drove the sale of the SolShare. But now the drivers that lead to a sale are increasingly around ESG and sustainability metrics.
For example, In Australia the SolShare helps commercial and apartment buildings meet the new National Building Energy Rating Scheme standards for on-site renewable energy generation.
California has a ‘solar mandate’ requiring all new multifamily buildings up to three-stories in height have solar.
And in the UK, the SolShare, improves an apartment building’s performance against the Energy Performance Certificate for brownfield sites and the Sustainability Assessment Procedure for greenfield apartments.
People are starting to think about real estate differently. Historically a building was a stagnant piece of infrastructure but now there is an opportunity for technology to provide insights into a building, whether that be energy efficiency, waste, or patterns of use by those that live and/or work in that building.
What you do not measure you do not know about and therefore you cannot change. Recently I heard of a large commercial building in a major city centre that had a significant water leak for years that went undetected until technology starting measuring and reporting on consumption metrics.
It’s almost like the buildings will start to come alive and be contributors to the community around them.
In addition to the commitment of industry and cleantech companies such as Allume, we need clear guidance and support of government at the state and federal level. Because what was abundantly clear from the energy transition summit is that we are going to need all hands-on deck to face the massive challenge of a sustainable future for Australia and the world.
Led by Taronga Ventures and The Schmidt Family Foundation, $6 million in new funding positions the company for international expansion into North American and European markets
(MELBOURNE, Aus.) – Allume Energy, the developer of a world-first solar sharing system, has announced the close of an AUD $6 million Series A round that will accelerate an expansion into international markets and grow its Australian operations.
Co-led by Taronga Ventures’ RealTech Ventures Fund and The Schmidt Family Foundation, the investment represents a commitment to tackling the carbon footprint of the real estate industry that will help to unlock solar energy for historically hard-to-reach multi-tenanted buildings, such as apartments and business offices.
Allume’s SolShare system is the world’s first solar distribution system that can scale the benefits of rooftop solar for the tens of millions of apartment buildings across the U.S. and Europe. The SolShare system removes the barriers to entry for multi-dwelling residents and allows solar providers to offer shared solar.
To date, more than 50 systems have been installed across Australia and the product has been certified for installation in the U.K. and the U.S. Allume’s installations are estimated to have saved in excess of 24,000 tonnes of CO2, with the company looking to achieve lifetime savings of over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 by early 2022.
“As demand increases for renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar, a huge proportion of the population risks being left behind in the energy transition,” said Cameron Knox, Allume co-founder and CEO. “At Allume, we are committed to breaking down barriers to rooftop solar to provide cheaper, cleaner energy to underserved communities across the globe.”
The financing will accelerate the company’s growth and expansion, which will drive the creation of thousands of clean energy jobs globally. In the U.S, Allume is delivering solar with no upfront cost to affordable housing with support from non-profit Elemental Excelerator, as well as expanding to the large multi-family market on the West Coast. In the U.K, Allume is working with Centrica-backed SNRG to provide rooftop solar to public housing in Greater London and newly built apartments across the region.
According to Jonathan Hannam, Managing Partner at Taronga Ventures: “Global real estate investors and institutional capital are now focused on driving sustainability through their underlying real estate portfolios. Thus, we are constantly looking for world leading emerging technology companies – like Allume – to help deliver our sustainability goals.”
“From a technical perspective, Allume Energy delivers a unique technology that allows the owners of multi-tenanted buildings to share solar power across tenants,” said Dr. Sven Sylvester, Investment Director at Taronga Ventures. “We are looking forward to working with our real estate partners to achieve their net-zero goals through the installation of Allume Energy’s technology.”
“Cities are where the vast majority of the global population resides, and many of these people live in multi-family buildings,” said Jamie Dean, director of impact investing for The Schmidt Family Foundation. “This venture helps democratize renewable energy access by ensuring that clean, distributed solar energy is accessible to renters and owners alike. The distributed power production facilitated by Allume’s technology also makes power grids more resilient, which is of huge importance.”
The investment round is also supported by Trawalla Group, the family office of Alan and Carol Schwartz.
More information about Allume Energy and the SolShare system is available at allumeenergy.com.
About Allume Energy
Melbourne-based Allume Energy has developed a system that can deliver solar energy to apartments and businesses in a simple and affordable way. Their Australian Made technology, called the SolShare, enables the power generated from a single rooftop solar system to be shared between multiple apartments or businesses within the same building. Allume Energy won the Clean Energy Council’s Innovation Award in 2020, is a portfolio company of Elemental Excelerator and an alum of Free Electrons and the Melbourne Accelerator Program.
About The Schmidt Family Foundation
Established in 2006 by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, The Schmidt Family Foundation (TSFF) works to advance the wiser use of energy and natural resources and to support efforts worldwide that empower communities to build resilient systems for food, water, and human resources. Through community-, market- and technology-based approaches, TSFF promotes an intelligent relationship between human activity and the planet’s natural resources.
About Taronga Ventures, the RealTech Ventures Fund and RealTechX
Taronga Ventures, through its RealTech Ventures Fund, is a technology and innovation investor focused on innovation for the built environment. The Fund is an institutional venture fund that invests into globally scalable entities that will enhance or challenge the way real estate is designed, procured, financed, developed and managed across all sectors. The Fund is focused on developing a diverse portfolio covering sustainability, design, materials and software and provides capital, mentorship and global networks for those companies in which it invests, as well as first mover advantage for the corporates that participate in the Fund. Taronga Ventures has extensive experience across global markets and asset classes and is supported by strategic and institutional partners across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. RealTechX is Asia’s first government supported, industry-focused independent scale-up program for companies impacting real estate and the wider built world.
For media enquiries relating to Allume Energy:
M: +61 413 766 792
For media enquiries relating to The Schmidt Family Foundation:
Director of Communications, The 11th Hour Project/The Schmidt Family Foundation
M: +1 718 569 2629
For media enquiries relating to Taronga Ventures:
Managing Partner, Taronga Ventures
M: +61 402 444 170
Allume Energy was founded in 2015 out of one realisation and one idea. The realisation was that the price of rooftop solar was dropping year-on-year, and would inevitably be attractive to all electricity consumers. The idea was that it would be possible to setup an “electricity retailer on your roof”, i.e. rooftop solar for no-upfront cost, to compete with the grid.
The company has evolved a lot since those initial concepts. We narrowed our focus to apartment residents and multitenant buildings. And we developed a world-first technology, the SolShare, that can address this market, because we realised there was no existing way of serving these customers.
Now we have come full circle. Allume has been featured in an article by Duncan Murray in The Fifth Estate on our new partnership with Sunshine Coast-based energy retailer LPE where we are providing rooftop solar at no upfront cost to apartment residents. This innovative model means that apartment residents can opt-in to LPE’s retail electricity service and have solar power included on the same bill. This drives down electricity costs for apartment residents, and improves the environmental credentials of the apartment building.
Damien Glanville, CEO of LPE, is quoted in The Fifth Estate on the challenges of rooftop solar for apartments:
“Putting on a single solar system for every apartment, which we have done, is too difficult and it’s too messy. You’ve got too much equipment that typically you don’t have the space for.”
The Allume SolShare is the solution to this problem. By sharing one rooftop solar installation for multiple customeres in the same building, it removes the need for each apartment to have its own PV inverter. It also ensures that there is maximised consumption of solar onsite. Furthermore, as the SolShare can turn solar on and off to specific apartments, its pervents the stranding of assets due to churn if a customer moves out of the building.
For apartment residents, it’s a straightforward way to contribute to a greener future, and save money on their electricity bills at the same time.
If you would like to learn more about the Allume’s SolShare technology, contact us.
An apartment building in Turner is the first to go solar with a new Australian-made technology. The 20 residences in the Focus Apartments on Gould Street now share one rooftop solar installation thanks to SolShare technology invented by Melbourne-based Allume Energy and installed by ACT solar installer SolarHub. Residents will enjoy lower electricity bills and help decarbonise the energy grid.
“We’re thrilled to be the first in Canberra to install an Australian-made solar sharing system that benefits owners and tenants alike. It’s a win-win!” said resident and OC Executive Committee member, Deborah Purss.
Allume Energy’s SolShare is a patented technology that allows one set of rooftop solar panels to be shared by multiple residents in the same building. The SolShare constantly monitors customers’ energy demand and sends solar power to the apartments when they need it the most. This maximises the use of solar power in the building and reduces electricity bills by as much as possible
“The SolShare was invented with Canberra in mind. Lots of mid-rise apartment buildings with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. We look forward to bringing our World-first solution to established and new-build apartment buildings throughout the nation’s capital” said Cameron Knox, CEO of Allume Energy.
Over 50,000 Canberrans live in apartments, with new apartment complexes being constructed around the light rail corridor and town centres.
“The SolShare means we can bring rooftop solar to customers that previously couldn’t access it, including apartment buildings and shopping centres. This Aussie invention is a game-changer for the industry” said CEO of SolarHub Benn Masters.
Canberra apartment residents are encouraged to contact SolarHub to learn how they can go solar at www.solarhub.net.au or contact Allume Energy directly.
Allume Energy is pleased to announce that their SolShare technology is the first Power Division Control System (PDCS) to become UL certified. The SolShare is the world’s first behind the meter solar sharing technology for multi-family homes and apartments, allowing multiple consumers to share the benefits of a single rooftop solar array. UL certification allows the SolShare to be sold in the US, unlocking a significant new market for Allume. This technology was initially developed in Australia for three-phase grids, but now includes a split-phase model to meet the requirements of the US market.
“Achieving UL 1741 certification for the SolShare is a huge milestone. It is very satisfying to have a global leader in product safety put their stamp of approval on our product,” said Allume Energy’s Chief Technology Officer Kristy Battista “This provides the green light for deployments in the US market, and will also assist in our broader global expansion.”
UL is a leading global safety science organization, and one of the most recognized marks representing safety and trust. The SolShare has specifically earned certification to UL 1741, the Standard for Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment for Use With Distributed Energy Resources.
“At UL, we believe in safety through science, and as experts in this field, we work with manufacturers to build trust in the safety, security and sustainability of products. We congratulate Allume Energy on the certification of the SolShare and applaud their priority on product safety”, said Francisco Martinez, business development director of UL’s Energy Systems and eMobility division.
UL certification involved the SolShare being subjected to a variety of testing, including high temperatures, removal of ventilation, abnormal overloads, short circuiting inputs and outputs, inducing failures in specific electronic components, dielectric strength, ground impedance, static load and environmental ingress. All of which it successfully passed.
“To confirm that the SolShare continues to operate, or shuts down in a controlled manner when exposed to operating extremes that are rarely experienced in the real world provides further validation of Allume’s thorough design and internal testing approach,” said Ms. Battista.
Allume Energy has already made significant progress with US-based implementation partners, and the UL Mark is a major milestone in unlocking the market potential for shared solar in multi-family buildings in the United States. There are 22.2 million occupied multifamily units in the United States, of which approximately 75% have the roof space for solar. This represents a US$75 billion market opportunity.
The future is bright for Allume Energy!
About Allume Energy
Allume Energy’s vision is a world where everyone has access to rooftop solar. To make this happen, Allume Energy developed a world-first technology – the SolShare – which allows one rooftop solar installation to be shared by residents in a multifamily home. This helps families reduce their electricity bills and carbon footprint.
In 2020 Allume Energy won the Innovation Award from the Clean Energy Council, the peak cleantech industry association in Australia. Allume Energy is a portfolio company of Elemental Excelerator and a finalist in Free Electrons 2020.
Allume Energy was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
Media: Alex Marks, +61 413 766 792 email@example.com