Mirvac taps Melbourne shared solar tech for new apartment complex

ASX-listed property developer Mirvac says it is considering rolling out Melbourne-made solar sharing technology across all of its multi-occupant buildings, as it works to extend the benefits of rooftop PV to apartment dwellers and mixed use commercial buildings.

Mirvac said on Tuesday that it had partnered with Allume Energy to deliver its SOLSHARE technology, starting at its new Folia apartment building in Doncaster, Victoria (artist’s impression pictured above).

Stuart Penklis, head of residential at Mirvac, said the company had been restricted in its use of solar on multi-occupant buildings, but that Allume’s software got around previous limitations, such as restricted roof space.

“We were so impressed with the technology that we have partnered with Allume and will deliver their shared solar technology on select apartments (at Folia) …And we are now assessing it for use across all our assets,” Penklis said.

The partnership marks a major coup for Allume, a relatively new start-up supported by the University of Melbourne-affiliated Melbourne Accelerator Program.

As we have reported on One Step, Allume’s unique distribution technology – essentially contained within a small box – is designed to work within the building’s existing metering infrastructure, or “behind the meter,” to allow solar to be distributed and billed to individual apartments.

Allume then charges the tenants for the solar electricity on a “pay for the power, and not the panels” basis, through a power purchase agreement, at a locked-in rate, while grid electricity continues to be purchase through the customer’s preferred supplier.

According to Cameron Knox, the CEO of Allume Energy, the technology also feeds solar to those apartments using the most energy, maximising the overall reduction in electricity bills – and thus delivering up to 40 per cent reduction on power bills.

“Mirvac’s partnership with Allume is an exciting milestone for our business and will help us continue to innovate in the area of solar energy in the apartment space and beyond,” Knox said.

Indeed, it was almost exactly a year ago that Allume switched on its first commercial shared solar system using SOLSHARE, at a mixed residential and retail building in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Highett.

As we reported at the time, the small 7.2kW solar system was configured by Allume to deliver PV power to five apartments, a baker, a hair salon, and an occupational therapist.

The following August, the company won nearly $1 million in grant funding from the Victorian government to develop a Melbourne pilot project that aims to install shared solar and battery storage systems in three multi-tenanted buildings.

That project was to install solar PV and battery systems in three multi-tenanted commercial and residential buildings, to help cut energy costs for around 650 customers – all up it was expected to generate 5000kWh of renewable energy and support 11,000kWh of energy storage.

For Mirvac, the partnership is also about the company’s commitment to being net positive on energy and water by 2030.

“Sustainability is core to our objectives at Mirvac and this partnership reinforces our ‘This Changes Everything’ strategy,” Penklis said.

Additionally, Mirvac will use Melbourne-based Bunjil Energy – a company that teams up with not-for-profit groups to provide opportunities for young, Indigenous people – to supply and install the solar panels at Folia.

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