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Urban Energy Club

Urban Energy Club will test how the virtual allocation of shared assets can support a more inclusive approach of procuring network flexibility from domestic customers living in blocks of flats.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/03/2019
End date: 30/11/2020
Budget: £195,000

In urban areas, multiple occupancy properties such as blocks of flats are a common living arrangement, and many local authorities plan to develop this type of affordable social housing further to serve the needs of all. Living in social housing, however, can also limit customers’ energy options and prevent them from joining in with the uptake of low carbon technologies (LCTs), such as rooftop solar panels and batteries, due to the nature of shared properties and limited space on individual sites. This can be a barrier for certain customers who would be unable to actively participate in the energy market, own distributed energy resources and offer flexibility services through solar panels or batteries.

Urban Energy Club will cover the design, development and testing of the network-related aspects to a system with virtually allocated assets, specifically it will look at how customers can choose to use their virtual allocation of the shared asset to provide flexibility to the local electricity network and design a financial incentive offering flexibility suitable for the urban consumer group living in blocks of flats.

Urban Energy Club will look at how customers can choose to use their virtual allocation of the shared asset to provide flexibility to the local electricity network and design a financial incentive offering flexibility suitable for the urban consumer group living in blocks of flats.

Urban Energy Club will design, develop and test a flexible energy service powered by a shared, solar powered battery with virtually allocated assets. Specifically, it will look at how customers living in the block of flats can choose to use their virtual allocation of the shared asset to provide flexibility to the local electricity network and design a financial incentive, offering flexibility suitable for the urban consumer group living in social housing.

While other projects have already tested flexibility from co-located solar PV and energy storage, Urban Energy Club focuses on a new commercial model that will enable virtual allocation of shared asset and opt-in preferences for customers. By doing so, it explores social innovation that will help unlock the flexibility potential of specific customer groups that might be otherwise excluded from the flexibility market offerings, such as those living in block of flats that have limited opportunities to install individually owned solar PV and batteries.

Living in apartment blocks and flats has traditionally deterred residents from using low carbon technologies such as solar panels and batteries. However, this trial will empower people to participate in the emerging flexibility market by owning their own segment of renewable solar generated energy.

This model of shared ownership and allocation of renewable energy has the potential to enable more people to have access to more renewable energy at a lower cost, and bring new income for individuals and communities who would otherwise not be able to participate in the flexibility market.


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