Mississippi currently ranks 35th in the nation for solar adoption, and a recent solar installation at an apartment building at 805 Madison Street is an example of a scalable model to not just install more solar, but to add PV where it directly benefits people that need it most.
805 Madison Street is a multifamily building owned and operated by Belhaven Residential in Jackson, Mississippi. Louisiana-based solar contractor Solar Alternatives installed the 22 kW array that will be shared behind the meter among tenants thanks to Allume Energy’s SolShare technology.
“Belhaven Residential focuses on offering quality housing at affordable rates, and we have a holistic and long-range vision for how to serve our tenants’ needs,” said Jennifer Welch, Founder of Belhaven Residential. “Implementing solar with the goal to provide cleaner energy at affordable prices is a win for our tenants and a win for our environment.”
According to the Department of Energy, Mississippi’s low-income residents currently experience the nation’s highest energy burden (12% of total income). Most households in the South have electric heating and cooling systems in their homes. Those factors, along with the region’s high temperatures, drive up energy use, which contributes to a higher energy burden despite Entergy Mississippi having some of the country’s lowest electricity rates.
SolShare makes it possible for multiple tenants in the same building to share rooftop solar, and it requires no change to the existing electricity supply and metering infrastructure. Entergy Mississippi assisted with project funding. Entergy Mississippi and Belhaven Residential entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in which Entergy will provide a $6,500 grant in exchange for access to clean energy data gathered by the project.
The installation of SolShare and rooftop solar will increase on-site clean energy consumption and lower the energy burden for Belhaven Residential complex tenants, all of whom qualify for Mississippi’s low- to moderate-income benefits under the state’s distributed generation program.
Existing SolShare installations have demonstrated electricity bill savings of up to 40 percent.
“Residential consumers and building managers continue to pursue and embrace the benefits of a more sustainable energy portfolio, and I’m excited to see the results of our new rules and the partnerships that are developing in the community,” Commissioner Brent Bailey said. “The Distributed Generation Rules provide customer-focused programs that reduce risks, reduce energy consumption, and put money back into customers’ pockets.”
“Our team is thrilled to work with the Mississippi Public Service Commission and the Belhaven Residential team to lead the transition to clean, affordable energy in Mississippi,” said Aliya Bagewadi, Director of U.S. Strategic Partnerships at Allume Energy. “By bringing more proof of SolShare technology to Jackson residents, we’re demonstrating a scalable model for more equitable access to the environmental and financial benefits of solar for multifamily housing.”
Allume Energy is an Australian-born company which launched in the U.S. with support from Elemental Excelerator. Gabriel Scheer, Director of Innovation at Elemental Excelerator, Mobility & Energy, stated, “I am so excited to see this partnership between Allume, Belhaven Residential, and Entergy Mississippi; it epitomizes Elemental’s approach working to ensure that the transition to renewable energy is a just and equitable transition by enabling low- to moderate-income residents of Belhaven Residential to participate in the energy transition while saving money.”
Key members of the Mississippi Public Service Commission supported the project, including Central District Commissioner Brent Bailey and former Solar Innovation Fellow Alicia Brown.
— Solar Builder magazine