The residential solar energy market is booming. According to the Solar Energies Industry Association, there is now enough solar capacity in the United States to power 25 million homes.
But solar adoption for apartments, condos, and multifamily homes has been slower than for single-family homes, thanks to outdated laws and the relative difficulty of sharing solar energy.
Allume’s SolShare system — which the company had previously installed in several apartment buildings in Australia — allows for the dynamic sharing of solar energy between multiple units. In times of abundant sunlight and/or low energy use, SolShare even has the capacity to distribute excess energy back to the grid.
“The SolShare is the only hardware technology — at this point, in the world — to do the work of splitting one single solar array into multiple meters,” Mel Bergsneider, Allume’s executive account manager, told Canary Media.
There are several reasons why Allume is one of the few pioneers of multifamily solar technology, but the biggest centers on the way consumers pay for energy.
“A major issue for multifamily solar adoption is the ‘split incentive,’” writes Bergsneider. “That is, landlords purchase the solar system, while tenants enjoy the benefits. Typically, asset owners find it difficult to recoup their investments with the current model, especially when each tenant receives their own utility bill.”
Though Allume is among the first to offer revolutionary multifamily solar technology, other companies are following its lead. U.S.-based SunPower, for instance, has partnered with real estate developer The Grupe Company to install solar arrays on new multifamily homes in California.
For Allume, the future is, well, bright. In the U.S., Allume’s SolShare technology is already in use at apartment buildings in Orlando, Florida, and Jackson, Mississippi, and the company has immediate plans to outfit an additional building in Orlando and another in Tampa, Florida.
With citizens in densely populated cities like New York pushing for more multifamily solar options all the time, it may not be long before Allume’s SolShare arrives at a building near you.
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