Overcoming the Barriers to Solar

The Overcoming the Barriers to Solar stream at MEFL’s Spark! 2018 Conference featured the perspectives of four different experts showcasing how they were each overcoming the barriers to solar.

The stream featured the expertise of:

  • Alex Marks, Business Development Lead at Allume
  • Bjorn Sturmberg, founder of SunTenants
  • Tom Nockolds, founding member of community energy group Pingala
  • Jill Risely, Chair of Community Buying Group
  • Facilitator Sebastian Klein, Manager Zero Carbon Evolution at MEFL

Bjorn Sturmberg provided an overview of his social enterprise, SunTenants, which focuses on overcoming the barriers that prevent renters from enjoying the benefits of solar. SunTenants overcomes this barrier by making the value of solar explicit to both landlords (investors) and renters. SunTenants calculates a fair rental increase for investment properties that install solar (paid for by the owner) which allows for a return on investment for the owner. Even though the tenant pays increased rent, they save a lot more in power bills which results in them also benefitting from the solar power system. SunTenants then monitors the system to ensure both parties benefit.

Alex Marks from Allume then shared how they were unlocking solar for the multi- metered market. A key barrier faced by buildings with multiple meters such as apartment blocks, is the difficulty to measure and monitor how solar is being consumed by each apartment. Allume have been able to overcome this barrier through their ‘solarshare’ device. This device allows for solar usage to be monitored and measured and hence shared. Their system also allows for automated billing.

Source: Allume

Tom Nockolds from Pingala then highlighted that in order to develop innovative solutions that can unlock solar to a range of different groups, collaboration was key. He then illustrated how Pingala has been able to launch a variety of innovative projects including solar bulk buys, solar gardens, no-interest loans to indigenous communities and community financing, thanks to the partnerships they have formed.

Jill Risely from Community Buying Group further explored the importance of building partnerships in order to overcome barriers. By partnering with MEFL, the Community Buying Group has been able to launch the Big Solar Switch, a solar bulk buy exclusively targeted to community groups and housing associations.

Thank you to our speakers for sharing their expertise. For more information on the other streams at Spark! please visit MEFL’s Spark 2018 page.