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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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