Since 2013, the UK has witnessed a miraculous rise in the number of plug-in electric cars registered to drivers. New registrations have risen to around 246,000 this year, which is an increase of almost 6930% since 2013, when only 3,500 plug-in cars were registered. Innovations in technology, coupled with an increasing concern for our environmental impact, has encouraged many people to make significant changes to their lifestyle. A plug-in electric car enables drivers to get where they need to be, while also minimising their carbon footprint and reducing their reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels.
Having solar panels installed on your property is another way of ensuring that you are able to increase your independence from the grid, and environmentally damaging energy sources. It also allows you to save money on your energy bill, and earn money through Export Tariffs as of January 2020.
By using your solar panels to charge your electric car with renewable solar energy, you will be able to reduce your carbon footprint further, and, since solar energy is a free resource, you will be able to save money on powering your vehicle.
The energy needed to charge your plug-in electric car is the same energy that solar panels generate to provide electricity for your home, and since a typical household will generate between 50%-80% surplus energy, there will be plenty available to charge your electric vehicle at no cost to you. At-home solar EV charging points are simply attached to a wall of your property; you electric vehicle will simply plug into the unit, as it does at public charging points.
If your car is not at home during the daytime, and your only chance to charge it is at night, then this needn’t be a problem. Lithium ion batteries are an excellent option for anyone who has solar panels installed, and wishes to maintain their independence from the grid outside of daylight hours. These batteries are capable of storing surplus energy, rather than feeding it straight back into the grid, so that you can use it at a time that suits you.
If you decide to connect your solar panels to an EV charging point on your property, you might need to decide between a rapid charger, a fast charger, or a slow charger, though there are some units out there that will give you all three options. Rapid charging is ideal for anyone who needs to charge their car in a smaller time frame (between one and two hours), and Rapid charging units tend to be found in en route charging locations.
Fast and slow chargers are more commonly used for home and business charging stations. They are great options for drivers who are able to leave their car on charge over an extended period, such as during a workday or overnight, and take anywhere between 3-12 hours to complete a full charge. The unit you choose for your property will be dependent on the car you drive, and your lifestyle needs. A unit that provides all 3 options naturally gives you the greatest flexibility.
In a move to incentivise independence from non-renewable energy sources, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has introduced the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. This grant entitles EV drivers to claim up to 75% (up to the value of £500) off the cost of purchasing and installing an at-home charging point.
Though there are some restrictions, this grant can be claimed for most electric and hybrid vehicles, though you are required to have off-street parking and an OLEV approved chargepoint. You are eligible to receive this grant for charging points for up to two vehicles per household, provided they were acquired after October 2016.
If you are interested in installing commercial solar charging points at your workplace, then the Office for Low Emissions also offers a similar grant for their purchase and installation, up to the value of £10,000.
The Workplace Charging Scheme entitles you to claim up to £500 against the cost of each charging point, and up to twenty charging points can be claimed by each business. What’s more, a lot of charging points are able to support charging for two vehicles at once, giving employees plenty of opportunities to charge their EVs during the workday.
If you are interested in maximising the environmental and financial benefits of your solar panels, and would like to find out more about installing a solar charging point for your electric vehicle, simply get in touch and find out what options are best-suited to your property, budget, and lifestyle.