Condominium living in the age of energy self-consumption

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If you live in a condominium or commonhold property, the time has come for you to play a part in the energy revolution, generating benefits for the community and personal savings. How? By taking the path of collective self-consumption.

Living in a condominium is not always a bed of roses. There are certainly advantages in many cases, yet at the same time, sharing with others can be a challenge: common areas, maintenance, shared costs and responsibilities. But now you will be happy to take the rough with the smooth, because the energy world needs your help and can offer you great opportunities in return. The time has come to ask yourself not only what the world of energy can do for you in terms of consumption and savings, but also what you can do in the world of energy through informed, sustainable and community-based decisions.

In the context of the current energy revolution, condominiums and commonholds are becoming a prized target, as investment in energy efficiency and independence of these types of property ownership structures seems to be the key to hitting national sustainability targets.

In fact, relative legislation is moving towards full adoption of the European RED II Directive by 2021 (you can read more about this in our article on Energy Communities), incentivising actions for environmental sustainability and shared consumption of self-generated electricity.

But why condominiums?

 

The role of condominiums in the energy revolution

Strength in numbers

Many people living in an apartment or managing a building with multiple real-estate units are perhaps still unaware of the fundamental role that they can play in the energy revolution. First of all, there is a simple question of numbers: this type of property ownership is widespread in Italy, but also across Europe.

According to the most recent Eurostat data, the European countries where condominiums have become particularly widespread in the last decade include Latvia (66.2% living in condominiums), Spain (64.9%), Switzerland (62.5%) and Estonia (61.5%). This trend is significantly greater than the European average of just 41.9% in the same year (EU28, 2013-2020).

Succeeding in involving this quantity of residential properties in progressive growth of energy savings and use of renewables would mean a huge step forward towards achievement of the United Nations sustainability goals, not just for Italy but across Europe.

 

Condominium-based photovoltaics for collective self-consumption

Another factor that should not be overlooked is the possibility of collective self-consumption in condominium and commonhold settings, as defined by the European RED II Directive. You could therefore take this opportunity for a new challenge: taking advantage of photovoltaic systems not only for consumption in common areas or for central heating systems, but also for the individual real-estate units.

But what is the real challenge? To convince the homeowners association of the need to contribute to the planet’s well-being with installation of a photovoltaic system and storage technology. Here is a solid argument that you can use: consuming clean energy gives you the opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment, reducing pollution and making your contribution to the achievement of national targets, but it also means a concrete personal advantage in the form of savings on your energy bills.

 

Condominiums used to launch energy communities

Condominium properties therefore represent the perfect solution to share clean energy between different users, or POD (points of delivery). Why is this? One determining factor is certainly that collective self-consumption occurs prior to energy entering the low-voltage national grid, eliminating complex variables in this initial phase of growth in energy communities. Ensuring efficient operation of a closed system is the first step towards optimisation of sharing on the low-voltage grid. This is why collective self-consumption pilot projects have been launched across Europe, such as the Renaissance project, with the aim of cost/benefit analysis of energy, environment, social and economic factors and identification of possible technical, legislative and administrative barriers to optimise development of the solution.

Are you asking yourself whether you can already launch a similar project? Maybe you are wondering whether the self-generated energy can be allocated amongst the various real-estate units of a condominium? The answer to both of these questions is: absolutely! But more importantly, how? The most intuitive solution could seem to be dividing up the energy into small units for equal division between the different users. However, this does not suit the differing energy requirements arising from different consumption profiles of households within the condominium building. For independence of the ecosystem, it is necessary to provide energy to users as and when they need it, managing and keeping track of quotas allocated and consumed for each user.

This is not a simple task, but this is exactly where Regalgrid comes to your aid. Our platform performs precisely this task, digitally managing energy through real-time monitoring of energy flows using SNOCUs. These are gateways typically equipped with a smart meter that control the individual PODs, the photovoltaic system and the storage system. Let’s look at exactly how it works. Each condominium will have a single consumer SNOCU unit connected near to the meter, along with a single storage SNOCU that controls the whole photovoltaic ecosystem and storage technology and that communicates with the platform in real time. This allows the condominium to be recognised by the Regalgrid® platform as a community that shares local generation and storage of energy whilst tracing where this energy is consumed and allocated in the case of excess or deficit (fed into or withdrawn from the external grid). The head of the homeowners association can also act as the administrator for the energy community (although this role can be assigned elsewhere) and will be able to monitor system operation via a dedicated loginEach individual real-estate unit within the condominium structure will have its own individual login to check usage and overall energy performance of the community to which it belongs.

With Regalgrid’s help, you can therefore share the benefits of optimising energy flows, economic savings and low environmental impacts: common benefits that coincide with the interests of the individual through use of sustainable solar power.

REGALGRID OPINION

What Regalgrid is offering to condominium residents may seem like the technology of the future. But it is fully available now thanks to Regalgrid’s investment, experimentation and testing of this type of energy solution over many years.

Here at Regalgrid, we have always believed that condominiums would play a central role in one of the most important struggles for affirmation of the opportunities offered by new renewable and digital-energy technologies. Where there is a high concentration of residents under the same roof is exactly where it is most important to monitor every single energy input and output, with a precise, traceable and certified solution, recording local production relative to withdrawal and input to the external electricity grid.

Condominiums and commonholds are therefore the ideal settings for sharing generated and stored energy! On a technical level, the system is easily structured and even simpler and lower cost than the set-up required for many individual, dispersed PODs. This is why Regalgrid has focused on groupings of users right from the start and has carefully considered condominium needs, creating solutions that until now had only been installed outside Italy, where they were already permitted by legislation.