It’s a matter of debate whether the National Grid can cope with the demand required for the UK car population to transition to EV. Only last July the Government’s Transport committee report (Zero emission vehicles) warned that the National Grid would not be able to cope with the strain and needed to eradicate not-spot areas and identify locations where the Grid will not cope with additional usage, such as rural area. There are, however, a range of renewable sources of energy which are becoming increasingly important to support the transition and reduce reliance on the grid.
We’ve provided a brief response to some key questions which we’ve been asked over the last year on how renewables and alternative sources of energy can be used in EV solutions and what the added values and benefits of these are.
Clarke EV renewables experts
Key members of the Clarke team are renewables experts. Design Manager Dr Graham Walwyn is a Chartered Engineer with a PhD in Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Storage and is a member of the Institute of Engineering and technology (IET). Graham has designed a range of infrastructure projects and his passion for renewables is reflected in his educational attainment. His thesis was design and full simulation of a DC-powered housing estate, with no grid link, utilising renewable energy generation, along with battery storage, as well as EV integration into the system to stabilise peak energy demand.
Dr Hatem Amli, our Assistant Bid Manager, has a PhD in energy storage technologies and assists with feasibility studies for clients looking to explore and integrate renewable sources into their EV infrastructure solutions.
Can solar be part of my EV infrastructure solution?
In the UK, there is currently 14GW of solar capacity, split between large scale projects to rooftop solar. The government expects a five-fold increase in deployment by 2035 and plans to continue the support of solar energy implementation. Solar cells are becoming much cheaper and more advanced.
If you are at home during the day, you can charge your electric car directly from your solar panel system, or with a battery storage system, charging your car at night from solar energy captured during the day. This essentially amounts to ‘free’ travel.
Solar canopies used to for EV hubs offer a number of benefits:
- Solar infrastructure is now relatively cheap
- Provides a protective cover for all installed EV infrastructure / charge points and optimising technology lifecycle
- Covered shelter also reduces maintenance of chargers / reactive call outs
Solar canopies can also be used for:
- Advertising space
- Provide low level power to support EV chargers / lighting / signage
- Returning power to grid for payback
Clarke has designed solar canopies and can provide clients with solar canopy EV hubs.
Is battery storage viable?
Yes. The government has invested £246 million to research and develop battery technology and aims to make the UK a world leader in this field. The cost of batteries has also fallen dramatically, with prices set to halve again by 2030.
As battery technology improves, it will play an important role in integrating renewable energy sources into the grid as well as providing back-up power for homes and businesses.
What are the benefits of using battery storage?
There are a number of benefits of using battery storage, including:
1. Reduced reliance on the grid – by storing energy locally, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and help to stabilise the electricity network.
2. Store energy when it’s cheapest – by storing energy when it’s cheap and releasing it when prices are high, you can save money on your energy bills.
3. Back-up power – battery storage can provide you with a back-up power supply in the event of a power cut.
4. Decarbonise your energy supply – by storing renewable energy, you can help to decarbonise your energy supply.
What is smart grid and how does this fit with EV?
Smart grid is the use of digital technology to improve the efficiency of the electricity network. It involves the two-way flow of information and power, allowing energy to be generated, stored and used more effectively.
Smart grid will play an important role in integrating renewable energy sources into the grid and managing the increased demand from electric vehicles.
What are the benefits of smart grid?
There are a number of benefits of smart grid, including:
1. Improved efficiency – by managing the flow of information and power more effectively, the electricity network can operate more efficiently.
2. Reduced costs – by improving the efficiency of the network, smart grid can help to reduce costs for consumers.
3. Decarbonisation – by enabling renewable energy sources to be integrated into the grid more effectively, smart grid can help to decarbonise the electricity supply.
4. Improved resilience – by providing a back-up power supply and managing demand more effectively, smart grid can help to improve the resilience of the electricity network.
Dependent on the site and solution, yes. For example, buildings incorporating solar arrays with battery energy storage can see an immediate reduction in the energy they use. However, this does not tell the full story, since the cost of solar and battery energy storage needs to be factored in. Overall, you could expect a properly designed system to operate with very little maintenance for 20 years. An indicative payback period for these systems would be circa 7 or 8 years, which translates to an excellent investment.
A holistic approach to EV charging can save a huge amount of time and money as well as designing out inherent health and safety issues, if thought about from the outset. This approach also allows for a multidisciplinary team to input into the design, again, saving time and overall cost.
To find out more about EV infrastructure and how Clarke EV can help you with an end-to-end solution, including ICP services, feel free to contact us or check out our website – www.clarke-ev.com for a range of blogs on key questions.
We’re always keen to hear from potential customers who are looking to electrify their fleets or implement workplace or destination charging and guide them on their EV journey.