Solar for strata: LPE teams with Allume to offer “fair access” to solar

Image: Allume Energy

The bid to extend the benefits of rooftop solar to Australia’s millions of apartment dwellers has gained new ground this week, with the announcement of a new partnership between electricity retailer LPE and solar sharing pioneer Allume Energy.

LPE, which specialises in selling electricity to “strata communities” – at this stage in Queensland and New South Wales – said on Thursday that it had joined forces with Allume, to provide its customers with a “shared solar solution.”

Allume has made a name for itself as the developer of the solar ceiling-smashing SolShare technology, which works within an apartment building’s existing metering infrastructure, or “behind the meter,” to allow solar to be distributed and billed to individual apartments.

The technology, first rolled out commercially at a mixed residential and retail building in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Highett, was most recently showcased on an apartment block in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, where 70kW of solar and 54kWh of battery storage is being shared between 52 apartments.

The ASX-listed LPE, which pin-pointed “solar for strata” as a substantial addressable market in its April investor presentation, said it had partnered with Allume to service communities that had “struggled for years” to get access to fair solar solutions.

According to LPE, roughly 9 per cent of Australia’s population live in apartments or strata communities. These communities, it notes, tend to yield “highly loyal, sticky” retail electricity customers, with high switching costs.

“(Allume’s SolShare) is the most cost-effective option yet, and one that presents no risk to residents or body-corporates,” the company said in a statement.

“There is also a range of social benefits – such as giving access to solar and clean electricity to all apartment complexes including those in lower socioeconomic communities that otherwise couldn’t afford it”.

The idea would be for LPE to supply and maintain the Allume-engineering shared solar system at no capital cost to the body corporate or residents, offering “much less costly” electricity for residents than that sourced entirely from the grid.

Each system would be designed to generate enough solar to support a strata community’s daytime electricity needs, and distributed in real-time across all residents within the complex, thereby maximising on-site solar usage and savings for residents.

And LPE is confident that demand for the shared solar solution will be high, with more than 1.5 million residents of apartments within strata schemes located throughout Queensland and New South Wales able to access the solution.

“This is the first time strata apartment communities have had a decent solution that allows all residents to access a shared solar solution with one rooftop installation that gives them fair access to the savings generated from solar and allows them to become a sustainable community,” said LPE CEO Damien Glanville.

“LPE is looking forward to providing an accessible solution for all communities to become sustainable and reduce costs.”

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