Allume Energy has successfully deployed 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 United States.
By giving multi-family buildings, including renters, access to the benefits of solar energy, Allume’s technology could encourage greater rooftop solar deployment and energy equity.
Credit: Allume Energy
SolShare works by taking energy generated by a solar project built on a common rooftop and sending it directly to individual tenants in the building. It’s designed specifically to serve multi-family or multi-tenant buildings.
SolShare tracks the solar energy that’s delivered to each unit and is designed to deliver the equal amounts of energy to each tenant.
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. Solar power can a customer’s reduce energy costs and increase resilience to blackouts, but apartment owners and renters, historically haven’t had access to solar for financial and technical reasons.
Instead of directing solar energy to an inverter and, in turn, feeding that energy to an area within a building, like a lobby or other common room, SolShare facilitates individual energy delivery for multiple tenants. And any unused or overflow energy could be sold back to the utility grid.
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 United States if renter-occupied and multi-family housing are included, given solar penetration and available roof space.
SolShare’s 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.
“Our product is trying to maximize solar consumption within the building,” said Aliya Bagewadi, director of U.S. strategic partnerships at Allume Energy. “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 United States and United Kingdom. The company’s first deployments in the United States were last year in Orlando, Florida, and in Jackson, Mississippi.SolShare now runs on over 1500 apartments, with demand booming around the world. Allume plans to expand its reach into the U.S. market, progressing from the South to the Midwest, then the Northwest and Northeast.
News item from Allume Energy