Two standout Australian solar innovators – 5B and Allume Energy – have been named among the finalists in this year’s Clean Energy Council Awards, in the event’s ninth year of recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution of individuals and businesses to renewable energy.
5B and Allume were short-listed alongside Western Australia utility, Western Power, in the Innovation category of the awards, with finalists also named by the CEC for both the Community Engagement and Marketing and Communications Awards.
The CEC said 5B was nominated for its portable, prefabricated Maverick solar block technology – and in particular for achieving fastest deployed megawatt-scale solar project on a mine site worldwide at a Western Austrailan project, and cutting that facility’s electricity costs by around 40 per cent per kWh.
The Sydney-based company, founded by two former Infigen Energy engineers, has been going from strength to strength since its launch in mid-2017, when it promised to be able to deliver 1MW, battery-ready solar projects in just five-days, using a team of just six workers.
Over the past year, 5B has been named as the preferred supplier for the giant 10GW Sun Cable solar project in the Northern Territory that is backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, and has supplied the solar for Cannon-Brookes energy resilience initiative to help provide off-grid power to bushfire victims.
And the fledgling company’s latest funding round, which raised $US8.6 million, snared the investment dollars of US energy giant AES – a behemoth worth $US60 billion and behind more than 35GW of generation capacity.
Melbourne-based finalist, Allume Energy, was nominated for the CEC Innovation Award for the use of its behind-the-meter solar sharing technology, SolShare, on a community housing apartment in Melbourne.
One Step Off The Grid has followed Allume’s progress with its SolShare technology with great interest, as it works to break through the solar ceiling for those consumers traditionally “locked out” of the rooftop solar market, including renters and apartment dwellers.
The company’s first commercial project, back in May of 2018, installed a PV system on a mixed residential and retail building in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Highett and successfully delivered cheap PV power to five apartments, a baker, a hair salon, and an occupational therapist.
A year later, Allume was tapped by ASX-listed property developer Mirvac to use the SolShare technology at its then-new Folia apartment building in Doncaster, Victoria, with a view to using across all of its multi-tenanted building assets.
And in December of 2019, the technology was applied to an apartment block in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, alongside 70kW of solar and 54kWh of battery storage, to share the spoils between the building’s 52 apartments. It is for this project – which has cut each apartment’s electricity bill by over $155 in the first six months of operation – that Allume received its nomination.
Up against Allume and 5B is W.A. utility Western Power, which has proven that old dogs can learn new tricks through its trial rollout of six stand-alone power systems (SPS) in the state’s Great Southern region.
As the CEC notes – and as One Step has also reported – that trial was an overwhelming success, with the solar and battery-based power systems found to be more reliable and safer than poles and wires, require less maintenance, provide considerable cost savings and deliver real on-ground benefits for customers. The trial was so successful that Western Power has commissioned an additional 52 SPS in 2020 and will be rolling out a further 100 units in 2021.
The winner of the award for Innovation will be announced on August 25. You can read about the finalists for the CEC’s Community Engagement Award here.