Home » Welsh government trials ‘communal’ solar tech

Welsh government trials ‘communal’ solar tech

by Sion Geschwindt
The Welsh government and Wales & West Housing have announced the UK's first installation of an Australian solar energy sharing technology.

The Welsh government and Wales & West Housing have announced the UK’s first installation of an Australian solar energy sharing technology.

SolShare, a communal solar solution developed by Australian solar energy specialist Allume, has been installed at Odet Court, a block of 24 flats in Cardiff.

SolShare is said to be world’s only technology for connecting multiple residential units within a single building to a single rooftop solar photovoltaic system.

It is projected that the solar panels have the potential to meet between 55% and 75% of each flat’s electricity demand, with the saving shared equally among the residents.

The project has been funded by the Welsh government in association with Wales & West Housing as part of the Optimised Retrofit Programme.

Until now, previous options involved installing individual solar systems for each apartment – a largely unworkable solution for developers due to cost, footprint and inefficient energy use. 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 reduced installation costs as compared to a typical solar system. 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, it is said.

Jack Taylor, Allume Energy’s general manager for Europe, said: “Wales is leading the way with the installation of this new technology.

“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.”

Joanna Davoile, Wales & West Housing director, said: “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.”

Read next: Sweco selected to design floating solar plant in Uganda

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