Community groups to trade solar power in ARENA funded trial | RenewEconomy

Community groups to trade solar power in ARENA funded trial

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Community groups will be able to trade surplus electricity from rooftop solar systems in a bid to cut energy costs, as part of an ARENA backed pilot.

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Charities are set to be amongst the first in Australia to trial the trading of excess solar power amongst tenants, in a pilot project backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Melbourne based start-up Allume Energy has teamed up with the Salvation Army to trial the company’s SolShare platform, that will allow electricity produced from rooftop solar systems installed across several properties to be traded to the charity.

“Allume Energy is immensely proud to be deploying our world-first technology on this project and demonstrating how solar electricity can be shared to multiple tenants in the same building. This is core to our mission of making solar accessible to all,” Allume Energy CEO Cameron Knox said.

The $1.04 million pilot project that will include the installation of 487 kilowatts of rooftop solar across ten buildings that are either owned or tenanted by The Salvation Army and other non-government organisations, has received $220,000 in funding from ARENA.

Each of the rooftop solar installations will be integrated with Allume Energy’s SolShare technology, that allows for electricity produced by a single rooftop solar installation to be shared, behind the meter, between multiple tenants within a single building.

The SolShare platform potentially provides a pathway for centralised solar projects to supply power to multiple residential or business tenants within a larger building, like office blocks for apartment complexes.

The nature of these premises, were rooftop space is shared amongst multiple tenants and the difficulties in tracking the use of rooftop solar across multiple tenants has been a significant barrier to businesses and apartment dwellers from benefiting from solar installations. However, Allume Energy’s SolShare platform potentially solves that challenge.

“Allume Energy’s project and SolShare technology could open up access to the benefits of rooftop solar no matter where or what type of housing people live in. With the help of Green Peak Energy, owners of buildings can now install solar at no upfront cost and on-sell to their tenants, creating a new market for rooftop solar,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.

“ARENA is particularly excited that Allume Energy is trialling their technology with The Salvation Army, who will be able to free up more funds from energy costs to help those Australian’s most in need.”

Allume Energy had previously deployed the SolShare platform in residential developments through a partnership with ASX-listed electricity retailer LPE, recognising the untapped market for ‘solar for strata’ solutions.

As part of the pilot project, the Salvation Army has entered into a power purchase agreement with project financier Green Peak Energy. The Salvation Army will effectively act as the electricity retailer for the building, using the SolShare platform to track the distribution of power from solar installations to individual tenants through individual meters.

The rooftop solar systems will be installed at buildings across the Salvation Army’s Glenorchy City Corps in Glenorchy, Tasmania.

The power traded to the tenants of the complex will be cheaper than power purchased from the grid, helping reduce the energy costs for tenants, but will also allow the Salvation Army to receive additional income from the on-selling of the solar power.

“The Salvation Army seeks to contribute to the building of healthy communities and this includes operating in environmentally positive ways. This partnership furthers this intent while also helping us to operate our buildings and deliver our services in ways that are more financially sustainable,” The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander, Tasmania, Captain Kim Haworth said.

Allume Energy hopes to roll out the platform to additional community and not-for-profit groups if the pilot project proves successful.

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