Zero Capital Outlay Solar For Strata: LPE

Solar for strata - Locality Planning Energy

A Queensland-headquartered company is providing solar power and battery systems at no capital cost to apartment and other strata communities among its offerings.

Locality Planning Energy Holdings Limited (LPE) announced yesterday it had surpassed the 40,000-customer milestone; adding more than 2,300 new customers since the end of March and more than 1,400 just in May.

“The ratio of strata customers to retail remains consistent at 60/40 respectively, with LPE anticipating that as its shared solar product continues to be rolled out, this ratio will strengthen further towards high value, contracted customers,” stated the company.

LPE says it is on track to deliver against its guidance of an additional 10,000 customers (all types) in the current financial year.

In addition to Shared Solar, LPE also provide traditional electricity to homes, businesses, and strata communities in Queensland and New South Wales. If you’re a solar owner, you can see how LPE stacks up against other retailers using the SolarQuotes electricity plan comparison tool.

The company became an authorised electricity retailer in 2014 and listed on the ASX in 2016.

How LPE Shared Solar For Strata Works

LPE works with a building’s/strata community’s body corporate to design a solar power system, including batteries, capable of supporting a community’s daytime electricity needs. The system is then installed, which is fully funded by LPE who also maintains and carries out any necessary repairs at no cost.

The building’s residents need to switch all their electricity supply to LPE as part of the deal, so there’s just a single bill for each resident. Strata communities enter into long-term contracts of up to 15 years under the arrangement.

During the day, solar energy generated by the system is distributed to residents with the surplus being stored in a battery system. The battery supplies energy during peak usage times and any consumption not covered by on-site generation is supplied via the mains grid.

An important part of the infrastructure used is Allume Energy’s SolShare technology that enables solar energy to be distributed and billed to individual apartments or businesses within a building.

Solshare

How SolShare works (sans batteries)

A single SolShare unit can service up 15 separately metered apartments or units.

Locality Planning Energy has previously stated its Shared Solar customers were achieving rates 20 – 22% less than the reference price. The reference price is the benchmark set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for a financial year for electricity supply to residential customers in a particular distribution region and based on an assumed annual electricity consumption.

Last month, the company said it had completed the first shared solar installations with four systems operational on the Energex network, and one building able to offset 100% of its grid energy requirements.

There’s a big potential market for LPE – it notes 9% of Australia’s population live in apartments or strata communities, and strata communities eligible for embedded networks use an estimated $940m of electricity per annum.

LPE’s offering is one potential way for some Australian apartment owners to go solar – one of the others we’ve mentioned in the past is the “solar gardens” concept, which involves virtual net metering and doesn’t require panels to be installed on an apartment building – or even close by.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Jimmy Davis says

    thanks for info. With a higher% of Australians living in apartments (10% I think) this will become more popular.

    Questions: does LPE run this as similar to VPP deals offered by other retailers where they have the right to access the power in your battery to charge and discharge it when they want in order to take advantage of higher spot pricing etc? If so, this should be noted! If not, what is the business model and income for LPE? Do they only make their money from locking people into a 15 year plan as electricity customers?

    Also, out of curiosity is LPE the same company that owns Stratum Coal Company?

    • Hi9 Jimmy, Lisa here from LPE. To answer your questions, we own the asset and sell the solar electricity to the customer at a rate which includes a margin and the recovery of the capital we invested. t’s not a VPP and there are no lock in contracts for the customer. Happy to chat to you more 1800040168

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