Solopower: unique renewable energy solution set to deliver smart social housing


The fully-financed solar generation and smart battery storage solution will help housing associations meet their carbon reduction targets and alleviate rates of fuel poverty amongst tenants

The UK energy services company, SMS plc, has unveiled a unique new solution that aims to radically reduce carbon emissions of Britain’s social housing stock. Through Solopower, SMS is partnering with local councils and housing associations to significantly upgrade the energy performance of social accommodation, delivering solar generation, battery storage, and smart meters to landlords and their residents at zero upfront cost.

In deploying these smart home energy technologies – which are intelligently controlled and optimised by SMS’s FlexiGrid™ aggregation software – Solopower can decarbonise housing electricity by approximately 90% per home. The solution will therefore contribute to the enhancement of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings and reduce tenant electricity bills by up to 25% (approximately £200 in savings per year).


Helping meet carbon reduction and fuel poverty targets

With the residential sector one of the country’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, the financing and delivery of clean technology across the UK housing stock will not only be essential for meeting the Government’s Net Zero 2050 target, but also for increasing affordability of energy. Fuel poverty in particular has become a growing concern for housing associations over the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with rises in unemployment and home energy consumption due to lockdown restrictions exposing a greater number of social housing residents to debt and health issues.

The fully-financed Solopower solution aims to alleviate this issue, offering housing associations an opportunity to meet their carbon reduction and fuel poverty objectives, including the Government goal of upgrading as many existing homes as possible to an EPC Band C or above by 2035.

How does Solopower work?

In addition to providing finance, design, supply, and install, Solopower is a fully managed service, meaning SMS will remotely operate the battery systems on behalf of landlord and tenant using its FlexiGrid™ platform. This takes away the dilemma of consumer behaviour change and therefore maximises each home’s consumption of renewable power generated on site by solar panels. The turnkey service is enabled through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between SMS and the landlord.

SMS is currently demonstrating its Solopower service on three social housing projects with local authorities in Scotland, which will see the company operate battery storage systems as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) across 700 houses. SMS is also a lead partner on the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) supported ReFLEX Orkney project. The Glasgow-headquartered business is providing its FlexiGrid™ aggregation software and asset financing to fully integrate zero-carbon electricity, transport, and heat networks on the islands.


Improving the energy efficiency of homes at zero upfront cost

“Increasing the affordability of clean power and technologies that can help improve the efficiency of homes is right at the heart of Net Zero 2050 and the Government’s plan to build back greener from COVID-19,” said Mark Hamilton, Managing Director at SMS (Solopower). “With the launch of Solopower, which offers these benefits to social housing landlords and their residents at no upfront cost, we’re excited to extend our support in decarbonising the UK residential sector beyond our work on the Government’s domestic smart meter programme.

“By rolling out Solopower in partnership with local authorities and housing associations, who are right on the frontline of delivering the Government’s carbon reduction and fuel poverty targets, we can help ensure that the advantages of cleaner, lower-cost energy reach some of the most fuel-poor households first. Crucially, this is also a financed and fully managed solution, meaning landlords won’t have to worry about how they’ll fund or deliver the project, and residents won’t have to change their behaviour to save on energy and costs. SMS will do it all for them.”

If you are interested in SMS’s Solopower solution, available exclusively for social housing landlords, click here, where you can read more information including a downloadable brochure and FAQs. You can contact the Solopower team directly at


About SMS

SMS [] funds, installs, operates, and manages smart meters and clean technology assets, including solar generation and battery storage systems, which together facilitate a smarter, greener, and more affordable energy system. Established in 1995, SMS additionally provides strategic energy and carbon reduction consultancy services to public sector organisations, enabling them to enhance long-term sustainability and reach net-zero carbon emissions. SMS is currently a partner in numerous UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) net-zero demonstration projects, including the installation of kerbside EV charge points nationally for 15 local authorities, and the creation of a self-sustainable, smart energy island in Orkney, Scotland. SMS, whose shares are listed on AIM, had installed 3.81 million meter, energy, and data assets as of 31 December 2020. The company is headquartered in Glasgow with 12 locations across the UK and Ireland and employs more than 1,000 people.