Apartment dwellers can now benefit from solar just like their house-dwelling counterparts.
Thanks to a new innovation called SolShare, occupants of multi-unit buildings can now share one rooftop solar installation – an important breakthrough given the rising cost of power.
For occupants of apartments, office blocks, and retail centres, SolShare will mean lower power bills, a lower carbon footprint and a higher property value, according to its creator.
The metering system was developed by Allume Energy, an Australian startup founded in 2016 by Cameron Knox and Andrew Justo.
The company began life in an accelerator program in Melbourne and last month bagged a Clean Energy Council innovation award for SolShare, which hit the market last year.
“It is fantastic to have the Clean Energy Council’s support in our vision to unlock rooftop solar for those missing out,” Allume’s founder and CEO Cameron Knox said of the win.
"It is fantastic to have the Clean Energy Council’s support in our vision to unlock rooftop solar for those missing out."
SolShare has already been installed in a range of multi-metred buildings including community housing, new builds, not for profits, and retail units, and in July, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) stumped up $220,000 in funding to Allume to deliver a rooftop solar pilot project across 10 multi-unit properties that are either owned or tenanted by The Salvation Army and other non-government organisations.
Allume says the company is growing fast and now has offices across Australia and in the US, with plans to launch in the EU next year.
SolShare is a ‘Power Division Control System’ which means it controls the division of power to multiple, separately metered units at once. It is the product of four years of research and development by its creator Allume Energy. SolShare’s behind-the-meter approach allows for solar in multi-metered buildings without any change required to standard metering infrastructure. This in turn aims to minimise the capital expenditure required in existing buildings, and reduces the regulatory overhead in greenfield developments. Each apartment has a device that constantly monitors the energy usage then and feeds the information back to the SolShare unit. Over a month, SolShare monitors the amount of solar energy received by each apartment, and then makes sure that the same amount is delivered to each apartment. Excess energy not used by each individual apartment or common areas is sent back to the grid and compensation is provided.
Is it ready to roll?
SolShare was launched last year, and its Australian creator Allume Energy has expanded into the US, and has plans to launch in the EU next year.
Who funds it?
The startup has attracted funding from several sources including $220,000 in July from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).