Tag: UK

Solar energy for flats, UK

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The feed-in tariff has now been significantly reduced so the systems generate very little return on investment when exporting to the grid.
  3. 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!

The SolShare, rooftop solar UK

 

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.

Solar panels to increase EPC score

 

If improving the energy efficiency of your properties hasn’t been front of mind, the recent explosion in energy prices and changes to energy related legislation in the UK may well be pushing you to prioritise it. We recently covered how you can improve EPC ratings with solar for flats, and touched on the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) being the easiest way to establish the energy efficiency of a property. This provides you with a rating, where the better the rating the higher the energy efficiency and the lower the bills. Like school days, an A rating is top-notch, with a G rating being bottom of the heap and definitely needing improvement.

Energy efficiency is important for several reasons, including the well-being of the planet, the occupants of the property and how much they’re paying in bills. In this article, we’ve rounded up five ways you can increase the EPC rating of your property:

#1 Quality Insulation

#2 Upgrade The Boiler

#3 Double Glazing

#4 Solar Panels

#5 Energy Efficient Heating Sources

 

#1 Quality Insulation

A quick and simple way to increase the EPC rating of your buildings is by installing or topping up the insulation. When you put 270mm of insulation (from none), you may be able to increase the EPC rating by a full grade or more.

Cavity wall insulation is another solution where you may be able to average a 5-10 point increase. There’s also floor insulation where you can prevent draughts by insulating under timber floors, between the joists.

Draft proofing is also important, with up to 20% of heat escaping from gaps around windows and doors. Just make sure the draft snakes you provide are made from materials that are BS 7386 standard.

Improve your EPC rating, best ways to improve EPC rating

#2 Upgrade The Boiler

The choice of heating systems will have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of the property. A quick way to increase your EPC rating is by replacing the boiler.

From April this year (2022), energy bills for the average UK household hiked by a whopping 54%. By upgrading the boiler, you could save your tenants up to £365 a year.

While installing a new boiler can be costly (anywhere from £500-£3000 depending on the boiler you select) the EPC rating could potentially go up by 40 points. That’s four whole grades that might take your property to the top of the class.

 

#3 Double or Triple Glazing

By getting the windows double or triple glazed, you will improve the insulation of the property right away, which will shrink the heating bills. With double glazing lasting anywhere from 20-35 years, it’s a long-term investment worth making to your properties to improve energy efficiency.

In terms of costs, you’re looking at approximately £200 per standard-sized window for double glazing. This will be roughly £2000 for an average flat that’s two to three-bedrooms.

Double glazing can also increase the EPC rating of your building by approximately 10 points, which is a full grade.

 

#4 Solar Panels

Thanks to the Solshare, the days of solar power benefits only being for homeowners of free-standing properties is a thing of the past. Energy efficiency via solar panels for flats is now possible with the SolShare – a system that creates a private infrastructure for individual flats to equally access shared solar energy.

A typical SolShare system will increase the EPC rating by as many as 5-15 SAP points and set you back between £2,000-£4,000 per flat total, for the entire solar installation. While a decent investment upfront, your tenants will experience lower energy bills immediately. Compared to the other options for positively impacting an EPC rating, the SolShare definitely gives a solid return on investment from the day it’s installed.

The SolShare, solar panels for flats

#5 Energy Efficient Heating Sources

It is well worth looking at the heating systems installed in your property in terms of energy efficiency. Hydronic heating is incredibly efficient, with radiators being commonplace throughout the UK. You should keep in mind that your heating system will only be as efficient as the boiler you install to power it (taking us back to Suggestion #2).

If you want secondary heating sources in your building, be mindful of the running costs. Blow heaters, for instance, can end up costing more to run than central heating systems. They chew through a lot of electricity and tend to only warm up a small area of space, as well as being a potential fire hazard. If you’re looking at installing something other than hydronic heating, you may consider a wood-burning stove, as opposed to an open fireplace which will likely create greater efficiency and lower running costs.

 

How Can You Best Improve The EPC Rating of Your Building?

Optimising the EPC rating of your buildings is a must-do from a legislative perspective, as well as to help you and your tenants to manage energy costs. With options available to suit all budgets and properties, now is the time to consider which solutions are best for your building. For flat owners and housing providers, the SolShare is certainly a game-changer with solar panels for flats now being available to millions. Those who live in flats can also enjoy the benefits of lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions. If the idea of solar power appeals to you for your property or development, get in touch with us to discuss the SolShare and the best options for your project.

A huge milestone has been reached towards achieving net-zero flats in the UK. The SolShare’s ability to connect solar PV panels directly to flats is the keystone technology in the initiative.

Solar for flats, UK SolShare

In a world first, Allume’s SolShare has been combined with other world-leading, energy-saving technologies to create a near net-zero apartment building in London. Allume’s SolShare, alongside technologies created by MyEnergi, Sunamp, & NexGen have been combined to create a solar energy solution that more than doubles the energy bill savings and carbon reduction for every household within the apartment building, if compared to a standard solar system.

 

Project Overview

The solution achieves this by ensuring that 100% of the solar energy generated by the solar panels is used by the flats. Maximising the solar that’s consumed by the flats is vital because the more solar consumed on-site, the more money the residents will save on their energy bills.

As a comparison, a traditional solar system on a standalone home averages just 40% consumption. Increasing this to 100%, by enabling the solar energy to be stored for times when the sun isn’t shining, enables every resident to enjoy huge energy bill savings, no matter the time of day they choose to use energy.

Whetstone Green apartments render

The Whetstone Green development has solar connected to all 20 flats.

 

Project Consortium

The development, called Whetstone Green Apartments in north London, was brought together by SHA Environmental for MKM Developments and consists of an Allume SolShare solar PV system that connects rooftop solar panels to all 20 flats. Within each flat is a MyEnergi PV diverter, Sunamp Heat Battery and NexGen infrared heating system.

Kelly Lemon, MKM Director said “As a developer, we are proud to be bringing such a progressive scheme to the market. We have proactively worked with the various elements to bring the best technology to the scheme and we’re thrilled with the results.”

 

Technical Details

Whenever solar energy is being generated, the SolShare will direct it to the flats to cover their instantaneous energy demands from appliances, devices, lights etc. By doing this, each flat minimises its grid energy usage and maximises its energy bill savings. This optimised delivery is a standard feature of a SolShare solar PV system and already increases the solar consumption from 40% to 50-70%.

However, this project takes it one step further by using a PV diverter to direct any unused solar energy into a Sunamp heat battery charging it for use. The residents can then use this stored energy, in the form of hot water, at a time that suits them. This reduces the residents’ requirement for grid energy, keeping their energy bills even lower.

 

Industry Excitement Over Solar for Flats

The solution has already gained industry acclamation, with the consortium invited to present the solution at the UK’s largest renewable energy exhibition, Solar & Storage Live to a packed audience.

 

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about this project or the companies and technologies that make up the solution, please contact the team at Allume.

Last week, we at Allume were at the edge of our seats as we watched the U.S. House of Representatives vote yes on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Signed into law by President Biden, the IRA includes a historic $370B investment in climate solutions and environmental justice with the goal of reducing US carbon pollution by 40% in 2030.

IRA will help low to middle income households get rooftop solarCongressmen applaud after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signed the Inflation Reduction Act during a bill enrolment ceremony after the House passed the legislation. The legislation provides the largest federal investment in to the climate in US history

 

How Allume Energy can help provide solar for LMI households and apartment renters

With our vision for a world in which everyone can access clean and affordable energy from the sun, we see a tremendous opportunity to extend the financial and environmental benefits of solar to more Americans than ever before.

It is important to note that, historically, federal tax incentives for residential solar largely benefited more affluent homeowners, furthering disparities in access to affordable solar for low to moderate income (LMI) households and apartment renters. With a population that is 43% LMI and apartment units in the hundreds of millions, access to affordable solar remains difficult, especially for communities that have been disproportionately burdened by climate change.

In fact, Allume created the SolShare to bridge the gap to accessible and affordable solar. The SolShare is our award-winning hardware solution that enables residents in apartments (better known in the industry as multifamily homes) to directly access and consume clean energy from rooftop solar panels. By dynamically distributing solar energy throughout a multifamily home, our technology helps lower energy bills for renters and landlords all while reducing a building’s reliance on fossil fuels. We call it our win-win-win.

Rooftop solar for multifamily homes

The SolShare is currently being installed in the US, Australia, and the UK to help lower the energy bills of apartment renters and building owners.

 

The IRA will help make solar power more accessible

We are excited about the many ways in which the IRA can expand access to rooftop solar for LMIs and apartment renters. Here are parts of this landmark legislation that we see as game-changers for accessible solar:

 

1. Improvements to the Investment Tax Credit:

 

2. Additional Credits for Projects that Meet Key Criteria

 

3. Rebates for Energy Saving Technologies

 

4. Grants and Financing for Energy Justice Initiatives

 

If you are a renter, building owner, or solar installer, please get in touch. We look forward to seeing how the team at Allume Energy can help you make the most of rooftop solar for your apartments or multifamily homes.

eFIXX Energy and Allume

At the recent Future Build Expo in London, eFIXX Energy interviewed Allume’s General Manager of Europe, Jack Taylor to learn everything there is to know about the SolShare. The 5-minute, quick-fire interview, began with eFIXX Energy’s Joe Robinson asking Jack the simple question “What happens when you’ve got a block of flats and you want to share out that solar PV power between those flats?”.

 

How Is The SolShare Different?

Jack and Joe talk through the SolShare’s ability to solve this global problem. They even go into detail about how the SolShare monitors the energy demand of every flat connected to it and sends the solar energy to the flats that need it at any point in time. This optimisation significantly increases the onsite solar consumption within the apartment building. This directly equates to increased savings for the residents living in the flats.

Solar for Apartments

What Are They Saying About The SolShare

As the world’s only solution to behind-the-meter sharing of solar PV, the eFIXX gang were excited to learn more about the SolShare and share the solution with their 250,000+ subscribers.

Joe Robinson said that “I think this is a really, really good product”

And eFIXX is “going to watch SolShare’s UK journey very carefully and with great interest”

Watch the 5-minute interview here:

With more and more people around the world driving Electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles, governments, councils and building owners are having to find ways to implement EV chargers to accommodate them. In this drive to be more sustainable, it raises questions such as whether it’s possible to have a solar EV charger? And if it is, can you have solar power if you live in an apartment or flat? And of course, whether there are other benefits apart from the environmental impact?

These kinds of questions were recently touched on by The Guardian in their recent article on the hurdles apartment dwellers face when it comes to installing EV chargers, where our very own ‘SolShare’ was featured as a potential solution.

 

What Is a Solar EV Charger?

For many, the reason they decide to opt for an EV is that it’s better for the environment. No expensive petrol, no fumes in our neighbourhoods, fewer greenhouse gas emissions – it’s a win-win. Charging an EV with solar power makes it even more appealing.

A solar EV charger allows you to charge your vehicle with the solar panels attached to your roof and top it up with energy from the grid when necessary. Some independent chargers even have solar panels attached to them. In terms of appearance, they’re pretty similar to regular EV chargers but there are a lot of benefits to them for both the environment and the vehicle owner.

 

How Can Residents Benefit from Installing an Apartment Solar EV Charging Station?

For many years it was very difficult, if not impossible, for apartment-dwellers to change their electricity system, install a solar EV charging station, or benefit from solar energy at all. Owners and companies believed these changes to be too expensive and unnecessary – but that’s changing. The SolShare is the world’s only hardware that allows multiple apartments to share a single rooftop solar system for an affordable price. Residents (and owners) get to reap the benefits this brings, including installing EV charging stations that run on solar power.

The EV charging stations can be wired in two ways:

  1. An EV charging station is installed at the designated parking spot of the apartment resident and is wired up to the circuit of that apartment.
  2. EV charging stations are installed in the car park and connected to the Common Light and Power circuit (sometimes called Community Power) which provides electricity to the hallways, elevators, swimming pools and other common areas and facilities.

So what happens if you have an EV but your neighbour doesn’t? They’re probably not going to be happy paying for their petrol while also using less solar than you because you’re using up all the solar power to charge your car. Thankfully the SolShare automatically registers the amount of solar energy that each apartment receives in a month and can ensure that every unit connected to the system receives the same. So even if one neighbour charges their car, and the others are only home before and after work – everyone gets the same solar benefit.

If the EV chargers are connected to the Common Light and Power, then there are some companies providing a billing service to ensure that the Owners Corporation (also known as a Strata Community or Homeowners Association) recoups the cost of charging from the EV owner on a user pays basis.

 

Solshare Price, Solar Apartments

 

How Can Property Owners and Councils Benefit?

Whether they want to or not, property owners can’t deny that the world is changing. Governments are being voted in that have a clearer and greener plan for the future and people have a wider selection of EVs to choose from. As an example Ford has announced that all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric by 2030 and General Motors has said that their factories will only produce electric vehicles by 2035. The European Union recently banned the sale of vehicles that use petrol or diesel from 2035.

So this trend is only going to keep on growing.

The more common it is for people to own EVs the more normal it will be for them to expect a solar EV charger in their home or complex. Property owners who have the intention of renting and who haven’t installed a vehicle charger will be losing out on potential renters or current tenants will leave.  As well as this, with rising energy costs – tenants may start looking for complexes where they’ll have access to rooftop solar to help reduce their energy bills.

For many, the worry comes when they think about how solar panels or a solar energy sharing system will change the appearance of their property. Luckily, the SolShare system is discrete and, as the Guardian describes it, ‘about the size of a computer’.

 

microgrid, the solshare

 

Thinking About Installing a Solar EV Charger in Your Building?

If you’re an EV driver, property owner, or council and you’re considering installing a solar-powered EV charging system then get in touch with us today. We’ll be happy to talk you through the SolShare and how this unique system can help make installing eco-friendly EV chargers easier and the added benefits it will bring.

microgrid, the solshare

Recent changes to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) legislation require landlords to ensure their rental properties are up to scratch on the energy efficiency front. All properties across England, Scotland and Wales that are being built or promoted for let or sale as an entire property must have an EPC. As of 2025, all rentals will need a rating of C or higher. From 2028 this will apply to all properties. The EPC provides details on typical energy use and costs for the property, with tips on how to make it greener and more cost-efficient. Alongside the changes to legislation is the reality of energy price hikes. It makes sense that now more than ever, everyone – from homeowners to social housing providers and property developers – want the best EPC rating possible and are intrigued about solar for flats.

While there are several options on the market, solar power is definitely the biggest impact option increasing the EPC rating of flats and houses.

First, let’s look at how property energy efficiency is calculated. We’ll then check out why solar is one of the best return on investments for EPC increase.

 

How Is Energy Efficiency Calculated?

The energy performance of a property is measured by using the Standard Assessment Procedure, or SAP, method. The government uses the SAP to assess how much energy a home will consume under average assumptions for resident habits and behaviour.

An EPC includes two charts and rating bands. You can see the current rating band and the potential rating if you complete the recommendations for the property. The numbers for each rating are based on the SAP, from 1-100 points. The higher the points, the better the efficiency. As you can see, the highest rating of an A is 92-100 points and the lowest grade of G is 1-20.

Improve EPC Rating, Solar for Flats

Image Source: edfeenergy.com

 

Solar = Flexibility

Gone are the days of rooftop solar only benefiting and being available to standalone homes and offices. For years, flats have been locked out of the picture when it comes to accessing solar solutions for energy efficiency.  A lower carbon footprint and cheaper electricity bills are now open to tenants and flat owners, thanks to The SolShare.

 

What is The SolShare?

The SolShare is a system that creates a private infrastructure for solar energy sharing in multi-dwelling buildings. Power is directed from a single system on the shared roof space to whichever flats are connected independently behind their meter. The SolShare is the most straightforward and cost-effective solution to rooftop solar for flats. This is because the tenants or flat owners don’t need to sign up to additional billing services or solar trading platforms.

The only hardware of its kind, the SolShare is rapidly growing in popularity across the globe. There are now thousands of residents embracing lower power bills and reduced carbon emissions thanks to the SolShare.

the Solshare

The SolShare = Full Grade Increase

A typical SolShare system can gain as many as 5-15 SAP points, which directly impacts the property EPC rating. As we saw in the tables above, each band is approximately ten points. By installing a standard SolShare system on flats, it’s almost certain that the EPC rating will increase by at least one grade.

When designing the system, we can identify which flats in the building that need a higher boost to their EPC rating. We can then allocate a higher proportion of solar to those flats, so you’re able to achieve the desired EPC rating for every flat in the building.

 

Solar for Flats = More Power for Your Pound

The entire SolShare solar solution typically costs between £2,000 – £4,000 per flat, which is relatively low compared to other EPC initiatives. All while lowering the electricity bills for the residents within the flats.

In fact, the EPC to cost benefit is so attractive, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund team of BEIS have stated that even though the SHDF Wave 2 is a fabric first approach, they would accept SolShare solar systems as part of the bids, as long as it is contained within the 50% contributed portion of the bid.

 

The Bottom Line

Now that the power of solar has been unlocked with rooftop solar for flats via the SolShare, a whole new world of energy efficiency is available. The SolShare is cost-effective, boosts EPC rankings quickly and provides benefits from day one.

At Allume, we believe everyone should have the power to reduce their electricity bill and carbon footprint. The SolShare is the only hardware for sharing rooftop solar for flats and we’d love to help you get on board. Contact us today to discuss your options.

EIC Awards

 

Allume is proud to have been awarded ‘Best Innovation – Electricity’ for the SolShare at this year’s Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) awards. The judges highlighted the SolShare’s environmental benefits of enabling flats to connect to rooftop solar panels, as well as the social benefits of unlocking solar for social housing residents that live in apartment buildings.

 

What Did Allume’s General Manager Have To Say?

Allume’s General Manager of Europe was in Liverpool to collect the award. When receiving the award, Jack was asked what the next 12 months looked like for Allume:

“Connecting flats to solar is a global problem that Allume has proudly solved. Our plan is, of course, to get as many apartment residents enjoying the benefits of solar as soon as possible. But we have a primary focus on social housing buildings. Often social housing residents lose out on new technology that can save them money – what’s key with the SolShare, is that it’s affordable for housing providers, enabling them to install systems on their buildings, achieve their sustainability goals and importantly, help those in society that often need it most.”

Jack Taylor - Allume Energy

What Does the Award Mean for Allume?

The EIC is owned and run by the UK’s largest electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) and the ‘Best Innovation – Electricity’ award is regarded as one of the most prestigious technical awards that Allume can win in the UK – further cementing our credibility as the go-to solution for apartment solar.

The DNOs who own the EIC include UK Power Networks, SP Energy Networks, Northern Powergrid, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, and National Grid.

Solar for apartments, microgrid

Allume Energy was privileged to be invited to the recent RealtechX ESG Impact Showcase in Melbourne. We had representatives from our Commercial, Tech and Service teams in attendance, along with a real life Solshare!

 

Increasing the focus on sustainability for commercial real estate

The event focused on ‘innovations for more sustainable resources’ in industry. ISPT’s Daryl Browning opened the night by sharing his experiences and challenges when it came to pushing for more sustainability focused real estate assets, and also how he fell into the realm of sustainability as a whole.

The ensuing round table discussion provided inspiration for change in the sector, with Vicinity Centres’ Nick Irvine and ISPT’s Renee Nutbean and Steven Peters discussing and comparing ESG strategies from their respective organisations, with plenty of realised data to back up their implemented strategies.

Nick Irvine, Allume Energy Solshare

 

The night was rounded out by enjoying the niceties of Foy’s Arcade and networking with highly skilled entrepreneurs and ESG advocates. There were plenty of organisations on show, with a number of sustainability technologies presented that will no doubt be seeing a lot more of in the coming years.

apartment solar, renewable energyapartment solar panels, the solshare

microgrid solutions

As our populations continue to grow, the need for energy increases, as does the cost of electricity. But there’s another problem we’re all too aware of – the impact greenhouse emissions are having on the environment. Taking all this into account, it’s not surprising that more and more developers and local councils are exploring microgrid solutions.

While not a new concept, they are rapidly increasing in popularity and necessity, with governments worldwide investing in establishing local microgrids.

 

In this article we’ll have a look at:

 

What is a Microgrid?

A microgrid is a grouping of energy resources within a locally defined area. This could be an apartment complex, neighbourhood, business park, hospital or university campus. Essentially, a microgrid provides access to power for consumers within that set area, so if the main grid ever fails, they are protected from being impacted.

 

How Do Microgrids Work?

Let’s first zoom out to discuss ‘the grid’. This is the main power hub that connects residential homes, businesses, and most organisations to power so they can use whatever requires energy to run – from lighting to climate control and everything in between. The challenge with the grid is that if a transmission line is damaged by a truck accident or a big storm, then thousands of homes relying on that trunk of the grid can experience brownouts or blackouts. In this scenario, a microgrid could be a safety net.

While they are generally connected to the main grid day-to-day, microgrids can swiftly disconnect and operate autonomously in the event of the main grid failing. They can use solar, wind and other renewable energy sources to generate their own power and store it in batteries for use when there are no renewables. They can also charge their batteries from the main grid using low-capacity transmission lines, forgoing the need to upgrade those transmission lines at significant expense. Some remote microgrids may never need to be hooked up to the main grid and are self-sustaining.

 

Community Example: Solar for Apartments and Condos

Let’s take a community residential example. If a multi-unit residential complex like an apartment building or condominium is linked in with a local neighbourhood microgrid, it might include apartment solar using a solution such as the SolShare and batteries as part of its mix of energy sources.

In the event of a power outage, any multi-residential complex within the microgrid area will continue to be supported by the coordinated local supply of that grid. For those who have their apartment or unit hooked up to a device such as the SolShare, there will be the added security of additional apartment solar energy stored in the batteries.

 

The Solshare

 

What Are the Benefits of Microgrids?

Back-up power in emergencies

For some microgrids that are designed to allow for ‘islanding’, if there’s a storm, or power outage for any reason, having a microgrid set up in your local area can mean continuous energy supply, regardless of what is happening with the main grid. Microgrid solutions can provide a reliable source of energy and peace of mind for communities in remote or regional areas.

 

Energy independence

By not relying on the main grid, a locally defined area can be ‘energy independent’. This is particularly important for some remote locations, such as rural areas where relying on the main grid might not be a secure option due to low survivability of the transmission lines during bushfires or storms. Microgrids can offer a higher quality of power and energy distribution.

 

Reduce energy costs

When paired with renewable energy solutions, such as solar panels and solar battery systems, energy costs can be drastically reduced for local areas using microgrids. This is evident when using solar for apartments, with bills being slashed by as much as 30 percent compared to using main grid power.

 

Minimise Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Having a microgrid set up with solar panels and batteries encourages the use of renewable energy, which is cost-effective and can help reduce emissions which is good news for the environment.

 

microgrid solar energy

 

The Wrap Up – Microgrid Solutions

If you’re keen to be less reliant on the main grid and have the most reliable access to energy (while also reducing your power bills), microgrids are certainly worth considering. It’s also worth investigating possible national or local government support in your area. In some instances, grants are available to help you set up these kinds of solutions.

 

Keen to Learn More?

Allume’s vision is a world where everyone can access clean and affordable energy from the sun. Creators of the SolShare, the world’s only hardware solution for multi-residential solar power, we are proud to provide you with the option to reduce your electricity bill and carbon footprint.

Contact us today to discover how you can take control of your electricity usage and access clean energy, no matter where you live.