UK fights energy crisis with 'world's first' shared rooftop panels

The solar system's savings on each flat's needs translate to an annual electricity bill savings of approximately 50%.
Baba Tamim
Representational image: Solar panels during sunset.
Representational image: Solar panels during sunset.


Residents of Cardiff's Odet Court housing complex U.K. are benefiting from "world-first" technology that allows solar energy from a single rooftop system to be shared by multiple residences in the same building.

The new solar system setup can supply up to 75 percent of each apartment's power requirements, benefiting the residents, Euronews reported on Saturday. 

"At a time when costs are rising, improving the energy efficiency of homes will not only help us to deal with the climate emergency but also help families through the cost of living crisis," said Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change.

The SolShare model, developed by the Australian company Allume Energy and supported by the Welsh government and social housing manager Wales & West Housing, is suitable for both retrofit and new construction projects because it does not necessitate changes to the supply and metering infrastructure.

Energy and infrastructural savings 

Joanna Davoile, executive director (assets) of Wales & West Housing, has praised the communal solar system, calling it a "far fairer option" because it will allow tenants to share the energy produced by the building to lower their electricity expenses.

The technology also solves the problem of "how to connect P.V. panels and battery systems to our apartment units so that everyone living in the schemes may equally benefit," which the housing association had been struggling with in recent years.

The SolShare system, according to Allume Energy, increased solar utilization by over 25% and will save developers money on hardware because they wouldn't have needed to construct 24 different sets of panels, inverters, and batteries for each of the 24 apartments at Odet Court.

The SolShare system's savings on each flat's needs translate to an annual electricity bill savings of approximately 50%, or £390 ($469) to £530 ($638), noted the Euronews report. 

As the U.K. strives for Net Zero emissions by 2050, James called the new development "an exciting first-of-its-kind project for Wales and exactly the type of thinking we need to see within the housing sector."

Europe's energy crisis response

Consumers in the U.K. and Europe had already begun to feel the pinch of growing energy prices by 2021, which had been fueled by a concoction of variables, including skyrocketing natural gas prices.

Later, in February 2022, Russia, which is also a significant energy supplier, invaded Ukraine, further disrupting the area and driving up energy prices.

According to Bruegel, a think tank for economic policy, the E.U. as a whole, along with the U.K. and Norway, has allocated or spent more than $800 billion (€792 billion) to support energy consumers and customers.

Germany, which has allotted a staggering €268 billion to support energy customers, is by far the highest spender by the majority of indicators.

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