Behind-the-meter solar sharing know-how from Australia – pv journal Worldwide

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pv magazine - Photovoltaics Markets and Technology

From pv magazine Australia

The SolShare product developed by Allume Energy in Australia, with which several energy consumers can use the advantages of a single solar system on the roof, for example in a block of flats, has been certified and enables entry into the potential AU $ 102 billion (US $ 75.2 billion )) US market.

SolShare is the world’s first solar sharing technology behind the meter. She is used to throwing them out of the stadium. As the first Power Division Control System (PDCS) with UL certification, however, this is a cornerstone.

UL is a leading global safety science organization with one of the highest trust ratings in the world. Receiving the seal of approval “is a major milestone,” said Kristy Battista, chief technology officer of Allume Energy, in an announcement on Friday.

“To confirm that the SolShare will continue to function or will shutdown in a controlled manner when exposed to operational extremes rarely seen in the real world, Allume’s thorough design and internal testing approach will be further validated,” Battista said of the abnormal overloads, induced failures of components, extreme temperatures and other stresses to which the product was exposed in the course of UL tests.

SolShare has already reached many milestones in Australia, including this year’s Clean Energy Council innovation award. The KEK said that in the first six months of using the technology in a Melbourne apartment building, it met 39% of residents’ total electricity needs with a single PV system and battery, “and reduced each apartment’s electricity bill by more than 1 [AU]$ 155 [US$114]. ”

Technology that enables a fair transition

In order to guarantee this fair distribution of the available solar energy, the SolShare sits behind the meter, constantly monitors the energy requirements of all energy consumers connected to its system and proportionally distributes the generated energy at a certain point in time.

Allume Energy co-founder and CEO Cameron Knox told pv magazine earlier this year that anyone hooked up to a SolShare device “gets an equal assignment and gets that assignment when they do the most Saves money “.

That is, “If you and I were neighbors in a residential building and were going on vacation for the first two weeks of the month, the SolShare system would recognize that I wasn’t using a lot of electricity and therefore would not benefit much from my solar allocation. My solar allocation is withheld and more can be sent to other users in the system. When I come back and start using my energy, SolShare will recognize this and send my solar allocation. “

Allume Energy has been testing and iterating its product on the Australian market since 2016. By installing public housing, residents in ACT, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria are saving money on their utility bills.

In December of last year, Allume Energy was also selected to make its technology available to the listed property developer Mirvac for use on its multi-rent residential and commercial properties.

The first installation will take place in Mirvac’s luxury Folia apartments in Melbourne’s Doncaster, which are nearing completion.

SolShare was developed for Australia and has found wider application

SolShare is a solution “designed for the specifics of the Australian market, where we have low feed-in tariffs but high demand for solar energy,” Alexander Marks, Chief Operating Officer of Allume Energy, told pv magazine today. However, that market is applicable overseas. “

Early in the development of SolShare, the company recognized the potential to meet the demands of the US market while embarking on a certification and test pilot path in both markets.

Marks says, “We’ve been working in Illinois and North Carolina since mid-2019. We are committed to earning this certification so that we can continue piloting our technology in low-income homes in Los Angeles. “

Starting January this year, California introduced a requirement that solar panels be installed as part of construction in all new homes, including residential buildings up to three stories high. “We have the solution to meet this demand,” says Marks.

The company was supported in California by the launch accelerator Elemental Excelerator and has a partnership with Sunrun, a leading installer of solar systems and battery systems in the United States

No known competitors

Studies by Allume Energy show that around 22.2 million apartment buildings – as residential buildings are called in the US real estate language – are inhabited in the USA, around 75% of which have a roof area suitable for solar energy. It has been calculated that “this represents a $ 75 billion market opportunity.”

As of now, SolShare is unique, which means there are no hardware competitors in the market. In the US, Marks tells pv magazine“What they call virtual network measurement is in a way an alternative to SolShare, but it requires the cooperation of the sales network, which has to set up a special tariff that can require years of regulatory intervention and only comes about very slowly in the various sales networks – We have 16 distribution network service providers in Australia and around 3,000 in the USA. “

After UL1741 certification – the standard for inverters, converters, controls and connection systems for use with distributed energy resources – the future looks promising for Allume Energy in the USA and other markets, which are also based on the UL approval mark.

Marks says it has been a long way to get this commercializing recognition, and if he, Knox, and Battista had known how long it was going to take, they might not have stuck with SolShare’s development. Instead, they each pursued a milestone to achieve the company’s vision of bringing everyone, not just owners, access to solar energy on the roof.

“Solar is definitely the best way to cut people’s electricity bills after all of the low-hanging fruits of replacing incandescent lamps with CFLs or LEDs,” says Marks. “The results we’ve had on public housing have been excellent. They’ve cut people’s electricity bills by up to 40% over the summer and took the shock away from that bill.”

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