It’s so sunny outside! Being blinded by all this sun makes this the perfect time to share that we’re harnessing that solar energy through a solar array that we have recently installed on the roof of our charging station in Dalitrans, near Trencin. Now, users charging their vehicle at that location will be charged at least partially from solar power.
That location is also the site of one of our Gridbooster systems. These systems consist of 2 electric vehicle fast chargers supported by an energy storage system (a big battery) which stores the energy and an energy management system which regulates the input and output of that energy.
The array consists of 14 panels covering an area 22.8 m2. The maximum power of each panel is 280 Wp, resulting in about 2907 kWh of energy generation for given geographic conditions per year.
Chargers are connected to three sources of energy: the solar array, the electricity grid and GridBooster battery pack. When a vehicle plugs in, it will first pull energy from the solar array. However, because these are fast chargers, the solar panels are not able to provide enough power at once for the vehicle, so additional energy will come from the electricity grid or, secondarily, from GridBooster battery pack.
When the charging session is completed, the Gridbooster battery pack will recharge itself slowly from the solar array as much as possible, and pull from the electricity grid as necessary. This ability to recharge itself slowly over time makes this the most affordable setup (the faster charging takes place, the more power it pulls at once, the more expensive it is). The algorithm which manages the intake of energy is still in development and being adapted as we learn more. This is an initial project for us and so we are learning a lot.
Under current legislation in Slovakia it is not possible to provide excess generated power back to the grid, and utilization of our charging stations being at the level they are, there is not a business case right now for scaling this project more broadly.
Nonetheless, one of the great benefits of batteries in electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure, as the bridge to those batteries, is that they can be powered by locally generated electricity – they do not need to be powered from the electricity grid. In this way they support the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, into the energy mix. This project – solar + storage + EV charging stations – demonstrates how that is done.
This is an excellent chance to develop our experience and expertise, to learn, share this experience more widely to colleagues around the world (we just delivered a presentation to colleagues at the Solar Work Force at Power2Drive in Munich) and prepare ourselves for the moment when new opportunities become available.