Tag: US

Allume US Partnerships – Quarterly Update Q3 2023

Welcome to Allume US’ first quarterly partnerships update!

Meeting with US Senators

allume visiting us senatorsAllume along with Elemental Excelerator, Dimensional Energy, and ConnectDER met with Senator Mark Kelly (AZ) and other US Senators to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Allume’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Aliya Bagewadi, joined a White House roundtable in September and met with a number of US Senators and their staff to discuss the impact the SolShare is having in current projects, how the Inflation Reduction Act is enabling these projects, and opportunities for Senate offices to support Allume’s work. Aliya met with Senator Chuck Schumer (NY), Senator John Ossoff (GA), Senator Mark Kelly (AZ), and Senator Mark Warner’s office (VA), all of whom expressed strong interest in Allume bringing shared solar to renters in their states. Many thanks to our friends at Climate Power for inviting us to this event. 

Joining Coalitions as a Multifamily Solution for the EPA’s $7B Solar for All Competition 

solar for all grant

Allume is collaborating with a wide range of green banks, state energy offices, community development finance institutions, and nonprofit coalitions to support Solar for All applications in multiple US states. Solar for All is a $7 billion dollar competition run by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand clean energy and unlock energy savings for low-to-moderate income communities across the country. 

Allume’s SolShare technology can provide a much needed behind-the-meter multifamily solution in locations where community solar is not possible. Our team is currently working on collaborating with Solar for All initiatives in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio. 

In addition to supporting Solar for All applications, we are collaborating with lending institutions to develop low-interest financing options for building owners looking to provide shared solar for residents with the SolShare. With solar distribution data from the SolCenter, Allume’s software platform, building owners can tangibly demonstrate the energy savings they have passed onto their residents in accordance with EPA’s guidelines. 

If you would like to speak to us about your Solar for All application or act as a lender for shared solar projects, please contact us at info@allumeenergy.com

Speaking about Energy Equity at RE+ and Renewable Energy Markets Conference 

aliya RE+

In the US, Allume is speaking at major solar and renewable energy conferences in the US. Our presence at these events helps to rapidly educate stakeholders about shared solar and its impact.

Allume’s Director of Strategic Partnerships spoke at RE+, the largest solar conference in the world, and REM 2023 about how Allume is embedding equity in solar projects with the SolShare. Aliya spoke about the unique value of unlocking direct solar consumptions for tenants, shared more about our efforts to create financing that ensures net benefits for tenants, and discussed Allume’s aspirations for the SolShare to increase savings in communities. Since these speaking engagements, two new utilities have approached Allume looking to learn more about how we can work together.

 

Allume’s Shared Solar Project Gets a Shout Out from Gina McCarthy! 

gina mccarthy

Gina McCarthy, the first White House national climate advisor, 13th EPA administrator, and general O.G. in the climate world gave Allume a shout-out at the America is All In event in Orlando, Florida. When discussing innovative community projects, McCarthy cited Allume’s shared solar project at Canopy Apartments with @Renu Communities, and even declared, “personally, I’m so excited about this one!” 

We are honored by McCarthy’s shout-out and look forward to creating more innovative shared solar projects focused on delivering community benefits in Florida. Thank you to our partners at Solar United Neighbors for giving us the inside scoop on this good news! 

Creating an Impact Video in Jackson, Mississippi

tenant-jackson

Allume met with stakeholders in Mississippi to create a video highlighting the impact the Solshare has had at our second project site in Jackson. The video will include testimonials from tenants, the building owner, the former DOE fellow at the Mississippi Public Utility Commission (PUC), and the PUC Commissioner. Here are just a few testimonials from tenants who are receiving solar at the site:

​​”I gotta say, it’s been a game-changer for my utility bills. I’ve seen them drop to less than 20 bucks some months! It’s seriously impressive how much money I’ve saved. Just wanted to give you a thank you for making this place energy-efficient and wallet-friendly. Keep up the good work, I like it here!”

Now that my energy bill has been reduced, that’s less stress I have to worry about at the end of every month. Since I’m saving on my utility bills, that allows me to better invest into my own small business.”

We even learned that one tenant moved to the building because he wanted to lower his carbon footprint and was excited to have the opportunity to have solar with the SolShare! Keep an eye out for Allume’s release of the video in early October. 

Connecting at the Tribal Clean Energy Symposium and Black Owners of Solar Services (B.O.S.S.) Finance Summit

conference

Allume’s Partnerships Director attended a training by the Tribal Clean Energy Symposium on collaborating with tribal territories to develop clean energy projects. Tribal communities face some of the highest energy burdens in the country and have among the least stable grid access. We are pursuing additional conversations on how Allume can partner with tribal governments to lower energy bills for renters in multifamily buildings in Indian country. 

We also attended Black Owners of Solar Services (B.O.S.S.) to learn more about B.O.S.S clean energy initiatives in the Southeast. We thank B.O.S.S for graciously inviting us to their summit and look forward to continued conversation on a path forward to collaborating together to unlock the multifamily solar market in the Southeast. 

Joining the Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP)

national community

This DOE initiative partnership convenes multi-stakeholder teams around collective goals, provides technical assistance for local challenges, and develops an online community platform. Being eligible to participate will enable Allume to partake in these initiatives. 

The Department of Energy’s focus on meaningful benefits for low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities in their community solar programming enables Allume to participate in the National Community Solar Partnership. We have now joined the program, and look forward to submitting one of our projects for the DOE’s NCSP prize. 

We also met with high-level staff members at the Department of Energy to educate them about how the SolShare can provide immediate valuable in locations where community solar does not exist. We are thankful for the Department of Energy focus on the impact on LMI communities and its programs such as these for Allume to participate in. 

Reach out to our US team at any time on info@allumeenergy.com

Photo courtesy of ESA Solar, our installer partner for this project pictured in Orlando, FL.

 

As an apartment dweller who wants to embrace solar energy, the gap in renewable energy access is ever-present.

The cost of living, including electricity prices, is at its highest in decades. Self-generated solar energy has long been one of the easiest solutions for house owners to reduce their energy bills, access renewable energy, and increase resilience to blackouts. The proportion of households who have installed a solar system in the US has doubled since 2016, to 8%, according to a poll conducted by social-issue thinktank Pew Research Center in January last year.

But what do you do if you live in an apartment, like me? Even if you can get permission to install a solar system on an allocated area of your building’s roofspace, the cost is likely prohibitive. And if you are mainly out of the house during daylight hours, you would be lucky to offset more than 30% of your energy bills, according to Indian-owned solar manufacturer Renewable Energy Corporation. That makes the payback period much longer.

Opportunity

US body the National Association of Home Builders estimates 31.4% of Americans are in the same position as me and this represents a huge opportunity; local solar installers can broaden market outreach through multi-family projects, with portfolio rollouts offering replicable and scalable deal flow across states. What’s more, addressing solar access for apartments will ensure that those most impacted by increasing energy costs are included in the clean energy transition; apartment residents earn, on average, 33% less than the median US household, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

There is an even bigger hurdle for apartment residents who are renting, as I do: landlords have little incentive to install solar on rented apartments since they typically bear the cost with the benefits passed on to tenants in the form of bill savings. That is why the adoption of residential solar has historically depended on home ownership.

Residential industry projections anticipate fourfold growth in home solar in the next decade and analyst Wood Mackenzie reports we have already seen a record-breaking 40% increase in solar adoption since 2021. The industry must address demand from the 43.9 million US residences in multifamily buildings, however, to maximize solar adoption.

Potential solution

Imagine solar energy from a single rooftop system could be shared between multiple apartments. The solar array collects energy and pipes it down the building to an inverter, which feeds into grid meters. These meters feed into each apartment and common area. Owners could then jointly invest in the system and multi-family landlords could provide solar energy to their tenants.

Technology born in Australia and imported to the United States last year does just this. Allume Energy’s “SolShare” product physically splits the energy from a single solar system, via a hardware device, and shares it between multiple meters. If the electricity is fed evenly into all meters at all times, as described above, significant amounts of energy will be fed back into the grid when apartments are not using electricity.

That’s where SolShare’s “dynamic sharing algorithm” steps in. It feeds electricity to apartments that are using energy, thereby maximizing the energy consumed by the system and reducing the amount of energy fed back to the grid, making it an optimal system in states where there is no net metering. As a result, apartments can expect a 55% to 75% reduction in grid electricity consumption – more if they have a residential battery.

Over a month, SolShare works out when and where to feed energy, in order to optimize energy consumption and ensure each apartment gets a fair share. Typically, the electricity will be evenly split but it can also be configured to provide more energy to common areas or larger apartments. Not all apartments need to participate and dwellings can be disconnected remotely at any stage.

Allume Energy already provides around 2,000 apartments with clean, affordable energy, with around half of those in social or affordable housing. Having launched recently in the US, Allume is currently operating in Florida and Mississippi and is pursuing projects in California, Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Texas. The company aims to have SolShare available nationwide within the next 12 months.

 

Allume Energy works with multi-family apartment-owning landlords directly and via its growing network of certified SolShare solar installers.

Owner-occupiers can engage directly with a certified SolShare installer, who will arrange a site visit and provide a quote for the building as they would for a solar system on a house. The system can then be installed within two months to four months, with little disruption to residents and no change to their current utility setup – except lower bills. Apartment residents can also inquire through the Allume website, enabling the company to connect them with an installer partner.

Multi-family apartment block landlords can purchase a solar system, priced per unit, directly from Allume. The company works with installer partners to deliver a turnkey solution and landlords can allocate more energy to common areas or larger apartments to suit their needs. There is a small, ongoing connection fee per unit for monitoring a building’s solar usage.

Landlords can use solar as a revenue stream by pocketing some or all of the savings from the solar system. Alternatively, they can pass the savings on to tenants, improving rentability and occupancy rates. Inquiring about solar access with an asset management firm would be one place to start.

What’s the bill?

Available incentives include a 30% investment tax credit, a low-to-moderate income adder worth up to a further 20% tax credit, and a further 10% energy communities adder. Allume also works with clean finance providers to offer affordable options with no upfront costs. The Allume team can guide customers through incentive and finance options in their area and tailored to their circumstances.

By expanding solar access, we can improve the quality of life for vulnerable parts of the community, promote environmental sustainability, and create economic opportunity. Low to moderate income solar energy access for apartment owners and renters is crucial to achieving energy equity and addressing the burden of rising utility bills.

Many apartment owners and renters across the US can now access solar energy directly from their rooftops and those who can’t will be able to in the next year, as more utilities come on board. Government incentives, combined with green finance options, are helping improve affordability so that the people who would most benefit from energy bill savings can access it.

Nevertheless, policymakers, utilities, and community organizations must continue to collaborate to implement supportive policy and programs.

 

This article was originally published in PV Magazine.

Allume Energy’s rooftop solar array on multifamily building.

Press release – Los Angeles, CA, April 18th, 2023

 

Allume Energy today announced the successful deployment of its initial U.S. shared solar energy technology and plans to bring its SolShare solution to all apartments, in particular within low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities across the U.S. By allowing multi-family buildings, including renters, to access the benefits of solar energy, Allume’s innovative technology could unlock widespread rooftop solar and provide a solution to energy equity. Given rising energy costs, growing concerns about climate change, and growing disparities in energy burdens, Allume’s SolShare could be the key to proliferating solar power adoption. 

The number of U.S. homeowners who have installed solar panels has doubled since 2016, and 86% of Americans say they would welcome rooftop solar in their community. This is no surprise given that self-generated solar energy is one of the easiest solutions for standalone homeowners to reduce their energy bills, access renewable energy, and increase resilience to blackouts. Yet apartment owners and renters, who are more likely to be LMI earners, have historically been unable to access solar energy due to financial and technical considerations.  

According to NREL, LMI households represent 42% of the U.S. population, and the U.S. Department of Energy notes that “low-income households face an energy burden three times higher than other households.” Additionally, NREL states that solar generation can technically meet most electrical consumption in the U.S. if we include renter-occupied and multi-family housing, given solar penetration and available roof space. This means that deploying solar on apartments could aid substantially in resolving energy equity.

Finally, this empty space in the solar market can transform. At a time when LMI households, especially those of minorities, bear an outsized energy burden, the arrival of SolShare technology from Allume offers a first-ever chance for tenants to enjoy the financial benefits of solar from their own rooftops while landlords simultaneously receive help on their bottom lines. Other rooftop solar options exist for multi-tenant facilities, but they are cost prohibitive and excessively complex to install. Only SolShare delivers simplicity, efficiency, equity, and clear financial benefit for all parties.

 Why Today’s Multi-Tenant Solar Struggles

Imagine a solar panel array on an apartment building roof. The array collects energy and pipes it down the building to an inverter, which then feeds into — what exactly? This is the beginning of the problem. Energy must go into a grid meter, which then provides electricity to an area within the building. The building owner can deliver that energy to a common area (lobby, gym, etc.) and thereby offset the building’s energy consumption. This benefits the landlord but does not directly benefit tenants.

Alternatively, the solar energy could be sent to one or more apartment meters, but this introduces other challenges. How should the energy be divided? What if a tenant goes on prolonged vacation or moves out, leaving the space vacant? The results are inefficient at best. Inefficiency (and cost) compounds if the building has multiple solar arrays servicing multiple inverters, each tied to its own meter.

Allume Energy’s SolShare technology can match a shared solar system’s output to the energy use of individual apartments.

Multi-tenant building solar installations typically fall pretty to the “split-incentive problem,” wherein a building owner may pay to install a solar energy system, but tenants would derive the monthly economic benefits of using that solar power. The landlord can charge a fee to tenants and seek to recover the solar costs, but this is often a lengthy, contentious process.

Alternatively, families or landlords can turn to “social” or “community” solar options, in which participants can collectively invest in a shared, off-site solar energy system. Participants typically receive credits on their energy bills for the electricity generated by their portion of the solar array. Social solar projects can benefit the environment and the local community, as they promote clean energy and can create economic opportunities, but they come with key drawbacks.

The value of energy produced by a social solar farm depends on several variables, but the paramount concern revolves around how much the local power utility will pay for that energy. (This also applies to “net metering,” in which a building could sell some or all of its generated solar energy back to the grid.) Specific numbers can vary widely, but assume that it costs 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to consume electricity from the grid. The utility may only pay 7 cents per kWh from private entities for solar power. Regulations and policies may only mandate a “fair rate” for power fed back to the grid. “Fair” is open to interpretation, and broad pricing disparities are common. Thus, the credit offered to social solar participants by the utility may significantly undervalue the actual power generated. For this and other reasons, the rule is that the closer the electricity consumer can be to the point of generation, the better.

SolShare: Eclipsing the Alternatives

Again, recall that rooftop solar array, and let’s use the analogy of water, a hose, and buckets. If the energy flowing from that rooftop array is water, and the wiring from the building’s inverter to its meters is the hose, and each meter is a bucket, then you can imagine that hose trying to distribute water. The simplest approach would be to spray every bucket at once. As noted above, though, this approach presents many issues and inefficiencies, including an inability to adapt the spray to changing conditions.

Allume’s SolShare is installed on the building between the inverter and the grid boxes. You could think of it as a smart sprinkler. The SolShare sends water to each bucket in turn, moving between the buckets several times per second. In cases when the SolShare is configured with limits for each tenant, if one bucket reaches its limit, then the incoming water/energy is allocated to the remaining buckets. Any “overflow” from all buckets being full could be sold back to the utility grid.

SolShare’s flexible software lets tenants monitor their clean energy use while landlords can set rules for how solar energy should be used in the building. For example, a landlord could allocate 50% of the solar power for common areas (thus reducing the building’s energy bill), then share the remaining 50% among tenants (reducing their energy bills). If a tenant moves out, their allocation could be divided among the remaining tenants.

“As an apartment renter, I see the SolShare as a game-changer for equitable solar energy access and decarbonization of the built environment,” says Allume executive account manager Mel Bergsneider.

Several elements of the SolShare are patent-protected. The solution marks an industry first that opens up solar adoption previously infeasible if not impossible to develop. Unlike social solar, SolShare provides solar energy at the point of generation rather than principally exporting power back to the grid. Additionally, SolShare solves the split-incentive problem, because tenants and landlords can divide the energy benefits, allowing owners to recoup their investment more quickly without resorting to onerous tenant fees. Alternatively, landlords can charge a modest monthly access fee to use the SolShare system and turn it into an additional revenue stream.

Note that there have been efforts at the federal level to promote the use of solar energy in the U.S., such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), which provide funding for research and development of solar energy technologies. Incentives from these efforts can further enhance the affordability and ROI of solar energy systems, including those with SolShare integration.

SolShare allows building owners to use solar as a cost-saving incentive for tenants, not just a social incentive, while also using SolShare’s software to provide energy use data that can help with ESG reporting. This reporting may be particularly helpful in markets like Los Angeles and New York, where there is increasing demand for buildings with lower carbon footprints. Landlords that install the SolShare can also receive solar investment tax credits. According to Allume, “buildings with lower utility bills have 3% to 7% higher occupancy rates,” thereby helping increase the building’s asset value.

SolShare Dawning Across the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25% of all American families suffer from high energy burdens. Affordable clean energy has been out of reach for renters for a long time, which makes Allume’s SolShare solution a desperately needed game-changer.

Aliya Bagewadi, director of US Strategic Partnerships at Allume Energy, says, “Our product is trying to maximize solar consumption within the building. We’re not trying to send solar back to the grid in exchange for credits. We’re trying to get tenants to consume rooftop solar directly, and that has historically been extremely rare.”

Allume was founded in 2015 in Melbourne, Australia, and is now expanding into the U.S. and U.K. The company’s first deployments in the U.S. were last year in Orlando, Florida, and, most recently, in Jackson, Mississippi. In its Orlando deployment, SolShare eliminated the equivalent of 1800 pounds of CO2 emissions and saved each building tenant $242 in electricity per year. SolShare now runs on over 1500 apartments, with demand booming around the world.

In short, Allume’s SolShare:

Allume plans to expand its reach into the U.S. market, progressing from the South to the Midwest, then the Northwest and Northeast. As the Orlando and Jackson deployments show, Allume is already aiding U.S. expansion into a brighter, cleaner, more sustainable future.

About Allume Energy

More than 15 million people in the U.S. live in low and medium rise apartment buildings, with roof space for solar but no way of accessing it. Allume has developed a world-first technology, SolShare, which enables fair sharing of solar energy from a single rooftop solar PV 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. With an established market in Australia, Allume is now growing rapidly in the UK and the U.S.  For more information, visit www.allumeenergy.com.

 

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.

solshare-belhaven

SolShare Installation in Jackson, Mississippi

“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.

 

Brandon_AllumeWe want to highlight the amazing work of our Principal Applications Engineer for the US, Brandon Carlson, for protecting the storage mandate for new multifamily and commercial construction in California.

Thanks to Brandon, the California Energy Commission was provided a wide range of solutions and technical clarification to assist them in a successful rollout of the new January 1, 2023 requirements for new offices, schools, stores, warehouses, apartments, condos and other building types that must have solar PV and storage.

Late last year, builders approached the Energy Commission saying that due to technical and market limitations, they would not be able to meet the mandate. This opened the door for the Commission to create an exemption, which would have stifled the rollout of solar and storage. The Energy Commission has estimated that the mandate will result in 280MW of solar PV and 400MWh in additional storage capacity annually.

The Energy Commission turned to CALSSA for help, who enlisted Brandon’s advice on behalf of Allume Energy. 

Brandon led a series of meetings with the Commission staff explaining the existing solutions, how to wire multiple single-phase inverters in a building with 3-phase power, and changes the Commission should make to their compliance documents. 

As a result, the Commission was able to provide builders with a menu of 3-phase, 208V storage solutions, and keep the mandate in place where they otherwise would have rolled it back.

Brandon was recognised by California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA) as person of the month for his instrumental role in ensuring the mandate was not overturned. 

About Brandon

Brandon is located in beautiful Winchester, California. He was promoted from Senior to Principal  Applications Engineer at the beginning of the year and has helped launch Allume Energy’s US division.

Brandon has been in the solar and energy storage industry for over 20 years.  He is an electrical contractor, holds International Code Council certifications for being both a residential and commercial electrical inspector, and has contributed a great deal to codes and standards.  He represents an industry stakeholder on a variety of technical boards ranging from testing labs to national organisations.  His knowledge and expertise in his field has been fundamental to Allume’s integration into the US market.

When asked what drives him, Brandon responded, “Simply put, I’m an environmentalist with a passion for problem solving.  If I wasn’t paid, I would still be working within this industry, hence my very long volunteer list. Allume’s SolShare product is a great concept and I’m excited to be a member of a dedicated team of individuals that recognize its potential for multifamily residents.” 

His hobbies include; fixing bad policies, codes, and standards, endangered flora and fauna, habitat restoration, sustainable living and dwelling design, table-top gaming, model building, and special effects.

rooftop solar

With Net Zero by 2050 being the internationally agreed goal for mitigating global warming, we all have some serious work to do. A recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that to meet the target we need to at least double the global rate of renewable energy generation rollout through rooftop solar and many other means.

Solar energy is one of the most accessible renewable power options, and plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Rooftop solar panels help to reduce bills by up to 70% and each MWh of electricity generated by solar can save between 700kg and 1,100kg of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.

Given this global focus on meeting these targets, and the impact solar can have on them – let’s look at some of the solar incentives being offered around the world to help get as many people as possible to do their part.

 

Rooftop Solar Incentives: A Global Overview

Thankfully we are seeing government financial support for communities and businesses to access and install renewable energy products. When it comes to government incentives for integrating renewable energy into new builds or retrofit projects – rooftop solar is currently getting the most attention. Here are a few examples of what’s on offer.

 

Renewable Power Incentives in Australia

For residents and businesses nationwide, there are solar incentives available for the installation of small-scale systems. To check eligibility and apply for solar incentives, visit the Clean Energy Regulator website and state energy department websites. In some cases, eligible home owners can receive rebates of up to 50% of the total cost in setting up their solar systems.

Australians are also able to access ‘feed-in tariffs’. These are small solar rebates of a few cents per kilowatt hour of electricity generated by your solar power set-up that you don’t use. This goes back into the grid and you receive your payment. Feed-in tariffs are driven by state policy, so you would need to check your state regulations to find out your rate.

 

Solar Incentives in the UK

A £4-billion budget has been allocated for four years (1 April 2022 – 2026) giving homeowners in the UK the chance to apply for grants through the ECO4 (Energy Company Obligation) scheme to install rooftop solar panels on their homes. Using this scheme, the least energy-efficient households can save up to £1,600 per year.

There are also incentives via the Smart Export Guarantee (which started in 2020) and enable participants to receive payments for selling excess energy back to the grid.

VAT reduction is another option for those in the UK, with 0% VAT for solar panel purchase and installation from 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2027.

 

solar panel energy, solar for flats

Federal Solar Tax Credits in the USA

The USA introduced federal solar tax credits in 2006. Also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), they can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar PV system paid for by US taxpayers, provided the system installation is completed during the tax year.

Solar PV systems installed between 2022-2032 are eligible for a 30% tax credit. This will decrease to 26% for systems installed in 2033 and again to 22% for 2034 installations, with tax credits expiring in 2035, unless Congress renews it.

It is estimated that the ITC will cut the cost of installing rooftop solar for a home by 30%, or more than $7,500USD for an average system.

 

Which Solar Incentives are you Eligible for?

As the adoption of renewable energy is gaining more and more traction globally, we’re seeing incentives and rebate programs introduced and changing rabidly. As the solar rebates and solar incentive schemes change periodically, this article has been written to raise awareness of the kinds of programs and resources that are available at this point in time, and we’d recommend getting in touch with your local council or state government to find out the latest offers for your part of the world.

 

How Can Multi-Residential Buildings Benefit from Rooftop Solar Incentives?

With apartments accounting for close to 40% of households globally, this meant until recently a large portion of the population wasn’t able to access the benefits of rooftop solar power. Thankfully this has changed with the development of new and much-needed solar tech, the SolShare.

The SolShare empowers tenants in multi-residential buildings such as apartments, flats and social housing to connect to a single rooftop system to access and share solar power. This makes it affordable and easy to install in any building.

A sharing algorithm responds to the real-time usage of each dwelling. This means the solar power is directed as needed, which maximises the usage and savings. The SolShare system is flexible, allowing pay-as-you-use through to outright ownership of the system and getting your green energy free. As well as this, in most cases residents are also able to choose their electricity retailer.

The Solshare

 

Working Together

While the 2050 target is substantial, there are ways we can work together to meet it. Whether you’re a resident in a free-standing home or multi-residential building – hopefully you can now see there are options for you to choose from. Likewise, commercial developers can take advantage of the unique proposition available in the SolShare, which will make a huge difference in the long run. Contact Allume today to see how the Solshare can work in your new or existing building and the benefits you’ll receive.

rooftop solar energy, apartment solar

 

With soaring energy prices and widespread environmental impacts as a result of harmful carbon emissions, many people and corporations are exploring the power and benefits of renewable energy sources. In particular, solar energy and rooftop solar.

Solar energy is one of the leading renewable power sources. It’s a driving force in supporting energy independence and sustainability and is being embraced worldwide.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy installations exceeded previous records in 2021, with an additional 8% increase tipped for 2022. Of this uptick, solar is likely to account for 60% of this increase in worldwide renewable energy.

In this article, we are getting back to basics to provide a roundup of common solar questions, plus some helpful insights including:

 

What Is Solar Energy?

Electricity and heat are two forms of energy that are created by the sun. We can use both in many different ways where solar energy is quite literally, sun energy.

 

How Does Solar Power Work?

When the sun shines onto a solar panel, the cells in the panel are activated and convert the sunlight into what is called direct current, or DC, electricity. Within the panel is a solar inverter, which then takes this electricity and converts it into alternating current, or AC, power. This power can be used to run your appliances, instead of using power from the grid.

solar panels, renewable energy

 

What Happens To Any Solar Power That Isn’t Used?

When there is a surplus of energy created and not used by appliances in the home, in most countries, the excess is sent back to ‘the grid’. If you select for extra energy to be directed to the grid, in most instances you can receive a payment, known as a ‘feed-in tariff’. This is can vary from location to location and something that is worth checking with your energy provider.

Alternatively, the excess solar energy can also be directed to charge a solar battery for future use.

 

Which Direction Should Solar Panels Face?

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you will ideally want your solar panels to face south.

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you will ideally want your solar panels to face north.

Whilst this is ideal, it’s not a deal breaker if they aren’t. If the panels can’t face these ways in your location, you need to make sure they aren’t in the line of shade throughout the day from surrounding large trees or any other obstructions.

Positioning is important to get the most out of your solar panel installation. The orientation of the roof, the pitch (the slope or angle of it) and available space for panels will all impact the panel positioning. What the tiles are made of can also make a difference.

 

Are There Any Rebates from The Government for Solar?

Thankfully, many countries are supporting investment in renewable energy technology for both individuals and corporations.

It is certainly worth contacting your local council or government to find out about any available rebates or incentives to purchase and install solar panels, or other renewable energy products.

apartment solar panels

 

10 Benefits of Solar Energy

Now that we have a better idea of how rooftop solar works, which way solar panels should face and what happens with the excess energy that’s created, let’s look at some of the key benefits to having solar.

 

#1 Save Money on Electricity Bills

With soaring energy prices, having rooftop solar will certainly see you saving on your electricity bills, especially if you live somewhere particularly sunny. You can also integrate a battery for storing up extra energy to use on cloudier days and evenings. This will save you even more.

 

#2 Create Renewable, Clean Energy

As long as the sun is shining, you will have ongoing access to your renewable and clean energy source.

 

#3 Add Value to Your Home

Whether you pay for them upfront, or off in instalments, your investment in rooftop solar will be appealing to potential home buyers. The fact that solar panels provide environmental benefits and cost savings are two selling points that will certainly add appeal and profit to your sale price. In countries like the UK, solar panels also help to improve your EPC rating (Energy Performance Certificate) which can add value.

 

#4 Low Maintenance

Generally, rooftop solar doesn’t need a lot of TLC. While it is said that the panels don’t need to be cleaned, it is not a bad idea to maintain them so they are performing at their peak. Blockers like leaves, dust and water can impact performance, so get a professional in if you don’t fancy getting up on the roof to do it yourself! One study revealed that dust accumulation impacted efficiency by 60%, so it is worth maintaining your investment. The only additional cost after the initial investment could be the replacement of the inverter, but that’s after 10-15 years.

 

#5 Reduce Carbon Emissions

Your rooftop solar can cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of tonnes. The reduction amount will largely depend upon your location and how much power your panels can generate. But you will certainly be reducing the impact of harmful emissions by making the investment.

 

#6 Make Money from Surplus Solar

As mentioned earlier, in most countries any energy that you don’t use can be exported back to the electricity grid. Your electricity retailer will likely give you a feed-in tariff for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of unused energy that you export. Check with your retailer to discover the feed-in tariff rate they offer.

 

#7 Quick Return on Investment

Depending on where you live and the amount of sunshine hitting your rooftop solar, you could be seeing payback on your investment within five years. The cost will be returned via the savings to your energy bills.

 

#8 Decent Product Life

If you do your homework and invest in quality panels, they should last you in excess of 25 years. Pro tip: check the product warranty. The longer the coverage, the higher the likelihood that you’re looking at a quality product.

 

#9 Access Energy at Night

By teaming your panels up with a battery, you will be able to access solar power at any time of day or night. That means a particularly sunny week or two can actually give you nice clean renewable energy well after the sun is down.

 

#10 Energy Independence

Another reason to invest in a battery alongside your rooftop solar is to enable you to become energy-independent. Stored power drastically reduces your reliance on the main electricity grid, which means you can have enough energy for your personal use, even in the event of power outages.

 

How Much Money Can You Save With Solar?

While there is an upfront investment required for installing solar panels onto your rooftop, you will see the cost savings almost immediately in the reduction to your energy bills.

It is difficult to define the exact amount you will save. It depends on how many panels you have and where you are located in the world. The amount of sunshine you get impacts the energy produced.

On average, a 5kW system, which is generally enough to power an average home, could save you up to $2000 a year in a typically sunny location.

It does pay to research your region to get accurate reports.

 

Can You Share Rooftop Solar Energy?

All of these great benefits of having rooftop solar have, until recently, been limited to freestanding homes. However, there have been developments in technology that enable solar energy sharing in some instances using wireless power transfer (WPT). There’s also the option to return unused solar power to the grid, which is technically sharing the energy too.

That being said, the big game-changing invention enabling shared rooftop solar energy is the SolShare. This award-winning technology is a single rooftop solar system which can be shared by anyone residing in an apartment building, flats or social housing. Apartment solar panels are a new addition to the game and this tech is the first of its kind. The SolShare empowers those in multi-residential blocks to gain the benefits previously only accessible to those in free-standing homes.

the solshare,

 

The SolShare takes up limited rooftop space as a single system and has an algorithm that responds to each resident’s use. They receive solar energy as it’s required, which maximises both consumption and cost savings.

Developers, building strata and body corporates are embracing the new tech. It’s flexible in delivery with options for pay-as-you-use (per unit in multi-dwelling buildings) to owning the system outright and receiving the energy free.

Each year, a typical SolShare will reduce C02 emissions by 28 tonnes and cut down on grid electricity use by 35-40%.

To learn more about this award-winning renewable energy technology, 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.

In April we attended The Clean Fight summit and thoroughly enjoyed discussing the future of a cleaner energy New York.

Mel Bergsneider, Apartment Solar

What is The Clean Fight?

The Clean Fight is a non-for-profit accelerator supported by NYSERDA and The U.S. Department of Energy. Powered by New Energy Nexus, it is setup to identify and scale innovators in clean energy for the benefit of New York.

As Cohort 2 participants, Allume Energy credits The Clean Fight for NY-based market expansion and support. Thanks to their program, we are able to pilot our technology along with decarbonization pioneers like Urban Electric Power, SWTCH, The City of Ithaca, Mitsubishi Electric, Alturus, INHS, and more.

On the 12th of April, the nine cohort companies along with many eager visitors attended the Mass Market Building edition. Here we were welcomed on stage to discuss our role in the smart electrification of social housing in Ithaca as part of their commitment to electrify over 6,000 buildings over 8 years.

The Clean Fight NYC, Mel Bergsneider

Our very own Mel Bergsneider impressed greatly as per the glowing feedback from our host, Allison Van Hee from Joint Ownership Entity (JOE NYC), and the applause encouraged by Luis Aguirre-Torres from the City of Ithaca following Mel’s contribution.

Mel Bergsneider, Allume Energy

Our favourite quote from Allison was “If you want to know everything about this, you’ve gotta talk to Mel!”.

Watch the whole video below.

Photos courtesy of April Renae @aprilrenaephoto