The Problem

Tenants of flats need lower energy bills too

Historically solar PV investments have been commercially unviable for existing flats unless government subsidies were available.

Where solar PV has been installed on flats, tenants typically receive no energy bill savings and the solar systems are poorly utilised. Most of the generated solar power spills onto the grid and is often not even metered.

As the race to Net Zero accelerates the costs and volatility of energy prices will increase.

It’s time tenants of flats received the long-term energy bill security that comes from using locally generated solar PV.

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Our Solar4Flats Solution

Recent action by energy regulator Ofgem has made it cost effective to operate microgrids in residential retrofit settings.

Solar PV can now be a commercially viable investment for blocks of flats without government subsidy. Even better, tenants of flats can benefit from this vital carbon saving technology.

Before

Diagram of standard wiring in a block of flats.

In a typical block of flats, solar PV has to be connected 'behind the meter' of the landlord's supply, producing a small energy bill saving for the landlord while saving the residents nothing.

Arrows show electricity flow.

After

Diagram of wiring in a block of flats turned into a private network microgrid.

With the addition of a single meter, the wiring in a block can be turned into a 'private network microgrid', which enables solar electricity generated on-site to be sold at low cost to residents.

This generates a financial return on the cost of installing the solar PV system while saving the residents money.

Additional meter highlighted in blue.

The Benefits

Based on performance data from Emergent's existing schemes, measured against an average of large energy suppliers’ standard variable tariffs. Electricity only.

Energy Saving Trust saving figure for an average UK home with solar PV installed, scaled to a typically sized flats installation in operation for 30 years.

Schemes generate income that can support financing of upfront costs by housing providers or a third party. Achievable investment returns are specific to each system.

Interested in a fully funded trial?

Places are limited

FAQS For Councils and Registered Social Landlords

Our new full-service solution makes it easy to unlock the benefits of Solar4Flats.

Why has this approach to installing solar PV on flats not been possible before now?

Energy regulator Ofgem recently awarded Emergent with a Regulatory Sandbox to the electricity sector’s Balancing and Settlement Code. It is the first award of its kind in the electricity industry. The Sandbox enables Emergent to demonstrate a new solution to an issue that has historically prevented microgrids from being cost effective in residential retrofit settings.

What services are Emergent offering to enable social landlords to benefit from installing Solar4Flats?

We provide everything through a simple, turnkey solution, designed to make your life simple.

From the design of a system, through to the installation, supply, operation and maintenance, we take care of it all.

If you can provide us with a few bits of information, we will even assess the overall potential for our solution across your housing stock before signing any contracts.

Who will fund the installations?

Today, we are offering to fully fund trials for our next two thousand customers. Get in touch to find our more.

After these trials, our goal is to offer an enduring fully funded solution to Councils and Registered Social Landlords, using third party capital, which could include institutional money from the private sector, ethically minded individual investors, and/or raised through community fundraisings.

Our project delivery structure means you have the ability to fund / co-fund projects should you wish. Inclusion of direct Council/RSL financing or financial guarantees could have a dramatic impact on the pace at which we can scale the solution.

Can the solution integrate with our other energy decarbonisation and fuel poverty programmes, including the electrification of heating?

Absolutely. There is a big opportunity to be realised by connecting heat pumps to solar microgrids, since this can reduce the running costs for the heat pump, and produce additional income to help offset the high upfront capital costs of the technologies. Many of our initial projects have looked at the potential for integrated communal electricity-heat system, and several of our live schemes include these arrangements.

If you have existing communal heating systems in flats based on Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology, or have upcoming projects in flats where you will be installing heat pump solutions, you should definitely get in touch.

Can the solution work in other property types apart from flats?

It can – but we’ve chosen to prioritise working on flats for now.

There are 1.8 million flats in the social housing sector, and over 5 million flats in the UK.

Once we've got a solution that can be scaled up to help many of the people who live in these homes, then we will start to work on other property types.

How do we procure the solution?

Procurement of our solution is simple, easy and low cost. Get in touch and we can explain how it works.

How can we be confident that residents who sign up to a scheme will receive bill savings and a good quality service?

Residents receive a pre-determined price for their solar usage, over which you have control.

Service standards for customers meet a strict set of service level agreement KPIs, for which we are accountable to you.

Can residents who sign up to a scheme switch supplier if they choose to?

Absolutely. This has been enabled by our Regulatory Sandbox award. Without the award, customers supplied by microgrids are severely restricted in their ability to switch.

Can residents in a block of flats in which a microgrid is installed choose not to be part of the scheme?

Yes. As with the question above, residents connected to our microgrids are free to choose their electricity.

What does Ofgem’s Regulatory Sandbox award for Emergent involve?

Emergent has been given unique permission to demonstrate a solution that makes microgrids work cost effectively for retrofit projects, for up to 3 years or 2,000 customers, whichever comes first.

At the end of the period, assuming the demonstrations have proved successful, the solution will become an industry standard process.

Who else other than Emergent can implement the new Regulatory Sandbox solution?

No one.

Emergent is the only organisation permitted to implement the solution until it becomes a standard industry process.

What has historically prevented microgrids from being cost effective in residential retrofit settings?

This is quite a technical issue! It's to do with the electricity industry process called "settlement", which plays a central role in ensuring that the suppliers generation and demand on the electrical system balance at all times.

The key takeaway is that without our Regulatory Sandbox award, microgrids don’t work in retrofit settings. We learnt this the hard way, setting up and operating 6 microgrids in retrofit projects (see our Projects page).

Check our blog if you want to learn more.