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EU project name is “Domestic Low Carbon Community Energy Solutions”

The £2 million project, jointly funded by European Regional Development Fund and Together Housing Group (THG), aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Together Housing’s properties, save tenants money on their bills and demonstrate the commercial return of investing in green energy.

This pioneering pilot program aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Together Housing’s properties, save tenants money on their bills and demonstrate the commercial return of investing in green energy.

The project will aim to install 250 solar and battery systems with solar PV at an average of 3kWp size with battery storage of approximately 5kWh. A hybrid inverter will be used and all cabling, isolators and other equipment will meet industry standards.

Patrick Berry, Managing Director of Together Energy, said: “Typically households with solar panels only use a third of the energy generated, with the surplus going to the National Grid. This is because the energy can only be generated and used during the hours of daylight, often when the house is empty.”

“The beauty of battery storage is that power generated during the day can be stored and used when it is needed, even after the sun goes down.”

Patrick added: “It is a win-win-win situation. The tenants taking part in the pilot will benefit from free electricity, helping to eliminate fuel poverty and financial exclusion.  After the pilot, we hope to be able to roll out the scheme at a larger scale by working with energy suppliers and the National Grid. The monies generated can be invested back into our homes and services. Plus, we are reducing the carbon footprint of our properties, meaning the environment benefits too.”

According to THG’s internal models the typical house with solar PV only covers 33% of generation to the resident, with this battery technology we are expecting 70-80% of generation will go to the resident.

In future projects we are looking to introduce a system where we will install solar PV and battery systems free of charge to tenants but we will charge them for the electricity they produce at a sub-market rate. This is advantageous to the tenant as they have lower energy bills and for social housing groups such as Together Housing with over 38,000 properties the potential for longer term investment and carbon reduction is huge.

Data handling is essential in this project. Energy data will be collected on each property as part of the agreement to install the systems; this data will be kept between the tenant and Together Housing. Data from the project will be made open source at some point, however this data will be anonymised before being passed on to any third parties.

After completing the tender process, Together Housing is proud to announce that we will be delivering this project through Avonside Renewables, they are an experienced company in solar PV and battery installation. They have a Tenant Liaison Officer for engaging with tenant issues and a solid plan for installation of the technology over a 4 month period.

We are currently looking to work with energy providers who provide time-of-use tariffs, these mean that electricity is more expensive at peak times but cheaper at non-peak times. However a battery in the system means that electricity can be bought when the tariff is cheap, stored in the battery and used at peak times. Data management, weather prediction, custom algorithms, smart solutions and machine learning would be very important aspects of these systems.

We are also looking at opportunities to incorporate blockchain protocols for peer to peer (p2p)  network energy trading, we are aware that the UK’s legal framework is not ideally set up for this at the moment however some p2p projects are already underway in the UK under agreed legal exemptions.

If you want to learn more about this project, its implications for energy and housing sectors, or you would like to work with us on any of our energy projects then please contact our Renewable Energy Project Officer, Robin Jones, during working hours by email or phone:

Email:    robin.jones@togetherhousing.co.uk
Mobile:  07736923813

You can also follow this project via Together Housing Group on all major social media networks; this project will have the following hashtags: #ERDF, #THG and #solarbattery