Category: Technology

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.

Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Member for Chisholm Gladys Liu visited the SolShare manufacturing line at Allume Energy’s manufacturing partner, Planet Innovation.

The PM met Planet Innovation’s technicians on the line and learned how the SolShare technology works and how it is opening-up new markets for rooftop solar. The PM discussed with the manufacturing team the complex steps involved in the SolShare’s assembly and the types of skilled work involved in building smart energy products.

Allume Energy is proud that the SolShare is Australian Made and creating manufacturing jobs in Australia. As the SolShare is a world-first product that is opening up untapped markets for rooftop solar (apartments and multitenant social housing), we are also creating jobs in electrical trades and engineering.

The SolShare is one of many home-grown smart energy technologies that can help drive Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. There is growing recognition both globally and in Australia that smart energy technologies are driving an unstoppable transition of our energy system, and that this will create new industries and drive job creation for decades to come.

If you would like to learn more about the SolShare, contact us.

Thanks for your interest, PM!

SolShares at the Focus Apartments in Turner, ACT

 

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.”

 

The SolShare being accuracy tested

 

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.

 

Two SolShares installed on an apartment building

 

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 alex@allumeenergy.com.au

Throughout my career, I have noticed that junior development engineers always seem to be asking for opportunities to design a new circuit board or a new mechanical widget, and can get disheartened if they are spending lots of time testing or problem-solving.

It seems that when typical engineering graduates think of sexy, words like “design” and “cutting-edge technology” come to mind. Silicon Valley project super cool environments filled with sleeping pods, pits of brightly coloured balls and slides. But what is the actual reality of developing a ground-breaking technology?

The reality is that developing innovative products that address a market need, are technologically feasible and commercially viable is really, really hard. It takes grit, determination, and resilience week in week out. Because just as you clear one hurdle the next one presents itself.

 

Designing the circuit boards, mechanical parts, cables and software is only a small part of what is required to take an idea all the way through to a commercially successful product. As an engineer developing a new product, a large majority of your week will be filled with problem solving and testing, testing and some more testing.

The list goes on…

 

Testing, testing, testing! Left: Peter Toogood preparing the SolShare for IP testing. Right: Kristy with PI’s Rajeev Gupte testing at our manufacturing facility.

To some, this may not seem very exciting, but to me, there is a beauty in seeing all of the pieces of the puzzle come together. Because what I find sexy as hell is seeing a product I have had a part in developing out in the real world being used by happy customers, and solving problems that matter. Therein lies the thrill!

The results are in and Allume has won this year’s Clean Energy Council’s Innovation Award with the SolShare – we couldn’t be more thrilled! Our world-first solution to behind-the-meter solar sharing has been selected by the judges as Australia’s most innovative technology in renewable energy.

Allume’s SolShare beat ‘hundreds’ of other entrants to reach the final alongside 5B’s rapid deploy solar system and Western Power’s stand-alone power systems. Following a rigorous judging process, the Clean Energy Council selected Allume as winners.

Allume’s CEO, Cameron Knox said:

“We are thrilled to be recognised with such a prestigious award. We are so proud of what we have been able to achieve, and very excited about the future of the SolShare and Allume. It is fantastic to have the Clean Energy Council’s support in our vision to unlock rooftop solar for those missing out.”

Allume challenged itself to develop a product that solves the huge market gap of supplying solar energy to multi-unit buildings. Developing a technology that actively controls the division of power to multiple, separately metered units at once took 4 years of research and development, and has resulted in the SolShare creating a brand new technological category of ‘Power Division Control System’.

Allume’s CTO Kristy Battista said:

“What an honour! Winning this award is the result of all the hard work and commitment that’s been put in by the Allume team and I couldn’t be prouder. Amazing things can happen when you combine a genuine market need with innovative thinking”

The interest in the SolShare since coming to market in 2019 has been immense, with Allume rapidly expanding across Australia and into the US, with further expansion in the EU set for 2021. With installs covering a wide range of buildings, including community housing, new builds, not for profits, and retail units.

Allume’s Head of BD, Jack Taylor said:

“The traction that we have gained since bringing the SolShare to market last year has confirmed to us that we have solved a significant problem that faced the renewable energy industry – how do you install solar panels on apartment buildings? Winning the Clean Energy Council’s Innovation Award has reinforced our belief that we are solving a problem that really matters with a unique solution.”

The judges were impressed by the innovation shown with the SolShare and its ability to unlock solar for buildings that have previously been locked out. Apartment residents are finally able to enjoy the countless benefits that stand-alone home dwellers have enjoyed for years, which are even more significant during the current climate.

Alex Marks, COO, said:

“Our technology is bringing the benefits of rooftop solar to those that couldn’t previously access it. Social housing residents, renters in apartments, and family-owned businesses are now benefiting from lower electricity bills and contributing to climate change action.”

For more information on the SolShare, you can get in touch via our contact page.

Today the Clean Energy Council (CEC) announced that Allume Energy is one of only three finalists for the CEC’s Innovation Award!

The Innovation Award is one of the most prestigious cleantech award in Australia, awarded by the peak body that spans all renewable energy sectors. We are incredibly grateful that a panel of industry leaders has selected our SolShare technology as one of the finalists from amongst hundreds of submissions.

Our submission focussed on how the Australian-made SolShare opens up new markets for rooftop solar, how it enables solar access for those that have previously missed out, and how it increases on-site consumption of solar using optimisation.


The Allume Energy SolShare – shortlisted for the CEC Innovation Award

We showed the capability of the SolShare by showcasing the installation of the SolShare on Housing Choices Australia’s community housing apartments in Altona North, Victoria.

We think this case study is a superb example of how rooftop solar can be used as a targeted way can supporting low-income residents in community housing get through the current economic slump, and then for the next 20 years of the system’s life.

The benefits experienced by the 44 households living in the community housing complex in the first six months since the installation of the SolShare include:

The other shortlisted finalists for the CEC’s Innovation Award are 5B for their technology that allows rapid deployment of solar farms, and Western Power for the deployment of stand-alone power systems at the fringe of their grid. You can find out more on the Clean Energy Council’s website.

The selection panel will be announcing the winner on 25th August – so stay tuned!

 

An aerial view of a SolShare solar panel installation

 

ARENA has provided $220,000 in funding towards Allume Energy’s world-first solution that will enable The Salvation Army to on-sell any solar energy to other tenants within the building, all at no up-front capital cost to The Salvation Army.

By utilising the SolShare’s ability to share solar power to multiple units within a building, The Salvation Army will purchase solar energy under a ‘classic’ PPA, and on-sell any unused solar to the other tenants in the building for a profit under a secondary, on-selling PPA.

The Salvation Army will become the solar energy retailer within the building. Other tenants will have the opportunity to buy cheap, renewable solar energy from the salvation army and know that when they do, their money will be contributing towards their great cause.

Overview

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are the perfect candidate for solar energy: socially responsible organisations who can use the money saved on their energy bills to help their good causes. Often though, there are challenges for NGOs to gain access to rooftop solar: the capital costs are high and their premises are often in multi-unit buildings.

By using the SolShare, we easily solve the issue of supplying solar to multiple, separately metered units within a building – it’s our bread and butter!

But how do we overcome the capital cost that comes with installing a large solar system?

The answer is via a power purchase agreement, often referred to as a PPA. A solar PPA is where an external funding body will fund the capital outlay and maintain a rooftop solar system and sell the generated energy to the tenants within the building. The solar energy is sold at a lower rate to the energy that is supplied by the grid, therefore, generating a ‘win-win’ scenario where the PPA provider generates a return on investment by selling the solar and the tenants get cheap, renewable energy at no upfront capital cost by buying the solar. Simply put, at no upfront cost, a tenant can enjoy cheaper, renewable energy that’s been generated on the roof of the building.

 

A diagram representing a classic PPA arrangement

This is a great solution but how can we make it more beneficial to the NGO and more appealing to the other tenants within the building?

We create a model where the NGO becomes the solar energy retailer.

By using the SolShare, we can direct the solar energy to the NGO, creating the highest savings for them. But instead of wasting any excess solar energy that they don’t use by sending it to the grid the SolShare will direct it to the other tenants in the building, who will buy it from the NGO.

It’s a fantastic solution that will not only make better use of the solar energy by maximising onsite consumption but will also generate revenue for the NGO, helping contribute to their good causes.

 

A diagram representing a SolShare on-selling PPA arrangement

 

ARENA Funding

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is contributing $220,000 of funding towards this $1.04 million project. The funding will go towards the technical and legal development of the SolShare to enable the solar PPA on-selling functionality. More information can be found on the ARENA project page.

Consortium

Allume Energy – Project Lead

Allume will supply the SolShare and developing the solar sharing algorithm to enable excess solar energy not used by the NGO to be directed to the other units within the building. We will also manage the on-selling billing functionality via the SolShare.

Green Peak Energy

Green Peak Energy is the project financer. They will fund the solar PV capital equipment and sell the generated solar energy from these systems to the NGOs under a standard PPA.

The Salvation Army

As a world-renowned organisation, The Salvation Army’s commitment to creating a better world cannot be understated. They have kindly agreed to install the first pilot system on one of their buildings in Glenorchy, Tasmania. The outcome from the pilot site will see The Salvation Army save money on their energy bills by buying solar energy when they need it and make money by selling solar energy to the other tenants when they don’t.

I Want Energy

I Want Energy is one of the most established and respected solar installers in Tasmania. In their 10+ years of operation, they have installed over 3,000 solar systems, are Fronius Service Level Plus Partners, certified Tesla Powerwall Installers, and were one of the world’s first SolShare Installation Partners.

Sub-Buying Tenants

The unseen but key members of the project! The sub-buying tenants will be reducing their carbon footprint and saving money on their energy bills by buying solar energy from the NGOs when there is excess solar supply.

Technology

This ground-breaking solution is only achievable with the use of the SolShare’s unique solar distribution technology. As the world’s first behind-the-meter solar power division control system, the SolShare is able to distribute the solar energy generated from a single solar system to multiple, separately metered units within the same building.

Development

Allume will develop the SolShare’s algorithms to enable the on-selling of excess solar energy to other units within the building.

As this is the first time that an on-selling PPA will be created via the SolShare, legal frameworks will be created to enable the other tenants within the building to buy the solar energy off the NGO.

Functionality testing will take place at the pilot site in Glenorchy, proving the concept for a wider rollout.

Project Goals

Following successful installation, The Salvation Army will be running the world’s first on-selling PPA, enabling them to be the solar energy retailer in their building at no capital cost to them. This will result in a fantastic list of benefits for all parties involved:

For more information or media enquiries, please contact us.

 

 

Australian energy technology start-up Allume Energy has been named to Cleantech Group’s New 50 to Watch List.

The 50 to Watch is an annual list of the most promising early-stage private companies delivering high-impact solutions. The innovators on the list are creating new technologies and business models that could change every aspect of how we live; from what we eat to how we consume, from how we build our homes to how we travel

Allume Energy CEO Cameron Knox said:

“Allume Energy is a company striving to ensure everyone can access rooftop solar to reduce both their power bills and greenhouse gas emissions. Our SolShare solar distribution technology opens up rooftop solar to apartment residents and small businesses in office buildings and retail centres. We’re thrilled that product has been recognised as a game-changer for the solar industry,”

Director of Cleantech Group Jules Besnainou said:

“50 to watch companies give their all to achieve profitable impact. They tackle pressing global challenges with creative pragmatism and dedication. Together, they form a roadmap to a more sustainable future.”

To arrive at the companies on the list, Cleantech Group put together a diverse panel of more than 20 early-stage innovation experts from five continents. The Expert Panel nominated the companies they were most impressed with, focusing on high-impact solutions. Next, those nominations were combined with Cleantech Group nominations and added to research on early-stage public awards. The resulting 500 nominations were put through qualitative and impact filters. All nominations were weighted according to their relevance, keeping a sectoral and geographical balance. The Expert Panel then reviewed and scored a shortlist of 140 companies to arrive at the final 50.

The complete list of 50 companies was revealed on 24 September 2019.