Lindsey Guest | 15 Feb 2023
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.