Wales is the first nation to implement new solar technology for housing blocks in Europe.
Allume Energy, Wales & West Housing and the Welsh Government have today announced the first installation of Allume’s SolShare technology for the UK’s housing sector, to provide clean, affordable electricity to residential flats in Cardiff.
The project has connected 24 flats to lower cost solar energy at Odet Court, with the potential to meet 55%-75% of each flat’s electricity demand. Based on the average usage of 1800kWH – 2,400 kWh for a 1-bed flat this could equate to an electricity bill saving of around 50% (bwtween £390 to £530) a year, based on current average electricity costs in the UK of 34p/kWh. The project has been funded by the Welsh Government in association with Wales & West Housing as part of the Optimised Retrofit Programme.
SolShare is the world’s only technology for connecting multiple residential units within a single building to a single rooftop solar PV system. Until now, previous options involved installing individual solar systems into each unit – a largely unworkable solution for developers due to cost, footprint and inefficient energy utilisation. In the case of Odet Court, this would have meant installing 24 sets of panels, 24 inverters and 24 batteries.
Not only has SolShare significantly reduced the amount of hardware and footprint required, it has also saved 25% on solar equipment costs as compared to a typical solar system. Its ‘dynamic sharing’ capacity also delivers an improved solar utilisation of over 25%. Importantly, SolShare is suitable for retrofit projects as well as new builds, as it does not require any changes to the existing supply and metering infrastructure.
“Wales is leading the way with the installation of this new technology,” commented Jack Taylor, General Manager Europe, Allume Energy. “We hope it will serve as a template for governments and social housing providers in the UK to provide cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades to multi-unit residences. Simple and affordable solutions are available, so it’s great to see governments and housing associations embracing innovative technologies which help tackle fuel poverty and climate change.”
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This is an exciting first of its kind project for Wales and exactly the type of thinking we need to see within the housing sector. The decarbonisation of homes plays a big part in our journey towards a Net Zero Wales by 2050 and I look forward to following this innovative project as works progress. At a time when costs are rising, improving the energy efficiency of homes will not only help us to deal with the climate emergency but also help families through the cost of living crisis. It’s another important step in our journey towards a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.”
Joanna Davoile, Executive Director (Assets) at Wales & West Housing said: “At a time when many people are facing difficult choices of whether to heat their homes or feed themselves and their families, it is only right that we explore ways to make our homes more energy efficient for our residents where possible. In recent years we have been trialling different methods of retrofitting older homes with energy-saving technologies but one of the main challenges has been how to fit PV panels and battery systems to our apartment homes so that everyone living in the schemes could equally benefit. The SolShare system seems to be a much fairer solution as the energy generated by the building can be shared equally to help our residents to keep their electricity costs down rather than going back to the grid. We are excited to see how the technology used in the SolShare system will work for our residents.”