Solar-powered car parks to drive electric vehicle growth
An R&D collaboration has been established to help power the electric vehicle revolution.
Electric Vehicle costs are starting to fall and there is expected to be 9 million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2030.
With this increased demand, it’s vital that the UK invests intelligently in developing the grid to ensure there is capacity for drivers to charge their electric vehicles.
A consortium of energy experts has now secured multi-million funding for a project to demonstrate a solar-powered car park supported by battery storage where motorists can charge their cars.
The Smart Hubs II R&D project will also utilise revolutionary Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology to enable electric cars and other vehicles to deliver electricity back to the smart grid, to light homes and power businesses.
The managed integration of solar PV, electric vehicle charging and vehicle to grid systems at car parks and transport hubs is relatively new to the UK and is expected to accelerate the UK in meeting its green transport ambitions.
Solar PV provides the opportunity for green energy generation without placing further pressure on an already constrained grid, bringing sustainable revenue streams for car park owners including airports, train operators, local authorities, hospitals and retail centres.
The SmartHubs II project is also good news for car manufacturers as the ability to recharge quickly using a grid-friendly infrastructure will bring further consumer confidence and momentum to the electric vehicle market.
The project partners include demand response specialist Flexitricity, as well as Flexisolar, Turbo Power Systems and Smart Power Systems.
The demonstrator project will target early adopters of V2G, mostly in the commercial area, comprising of six sites and 150 V2G enabled electric vehicles.
The research will seek to identify the accessible service revenues for V2G systems in real life applications, how static and dynamic storage can be integrated in a single site to optimise service revenues, and the optimal power rating when considering lifetime system cost versus lifetime service revenues.
Dr Alastair Martin, chief strategy officer at Flexitricity, revealed that the consortium is now looking for partner sites to take part in the trials later this year.
He said: “Through the Industrial Strategy, the UK Government is committed to becoming a world leader in shaping the future of mobility and in the design and development of the clean technologies of the future.
“Electric cars and buses are going to be the principal method of transport in just a few years; however, we know that the current grid system will only be able to cope if smart charging and grid management are adopted across the network.
“We now need to invest in smart technologies and change the way we operate power grids if we want to make the growth of electric vehicles a positive story for the UK.
“As the UK’s leader in demand response, I believe that that smart vehicle charging will be the difference between the success and failure in reaching our electric vehicle ambitions.
“Having the ability to recharge in a short time using a grid friendly infrastructure will have a huge impact on the electric vehicles market – it really is a question about how quickly we can deliver this capability.
“From this perspective we are extremely excited to be involved in the Smart Hubs II project with our partners to develop a sustainable and scalable way of powering the electric vehicle revolution.
“We are now looking forward to identifying partner sites and embarking on the trials later this year, as we strive to deliver a solution that will drive the growth of the electric vehicle market and bring transformational benefits to motorists, car park operators and energy re-sellers.