For the last 18 months a burgeoning energy crisis has been looming and now we have reached a point where people are seriously looking for ways to reduce their energy bills both for electricity and gas. This blog talks about some new developments in this space and what people are doing to be more sustainable in their energy consumption.
Photo Voltaic (PV)
For a long time people have been installing Photo Voltaic (PV) panels and some early adopters benefitted from some quite reasonable feed-in tariffs to the national grid. PV then fell out of favour when the tariffs reduced for a while and grants were taken away, as people could not see a way of making a reasonable payback on their installation. More recently, there have been a number of technological developments which have meant that PV has regained popularity but there are still a number of people who have PV and are not utilising it to its fullest extent.
We are now often approached by customers looking into ways of harnessing the PV on their roof in innovative ways and this article discusses those scenarios.
There are a number of chargers on the market which are compatible with PV solutions. This means that they have applications which monitor (via a CT) clamp the total load (in amps) going through the home. If the CT clamp detects that electricity is flowing into the grid, and the charger app is set up in the correct mode for charging in this scenario, then the charger will charge directly from the PV. Then once the charger has fully charged the car, the system will revert back into grid export mode.
Home battery Solutions
Battery technology has obviously developed significantly over the last few years with the advent of electric cars with some notable companies such as Tesla and PowerVault now getting into the home battery market.
We increasingly take calls from customers wanting to go “off grid” in the summer months between May and September by hooking their PV up to a battery and charging the battery, then running their electricity for the home directly from the battery. This is a very attractive solution for the average home now with payback for this type of solution at 7 years (and reducing) as energy prices increase. Depending on the size of the PV array they have on the roof and their battery capacity it’s possible in many cases to go “off grid” and not pay for any electricity during the summer months.
EV and Home Battery Together
Developing the above idea further, we are increasingly getting calls from customers who already have a home battery and want to charge their car once the battery is charged. This can be done with some car chargers such as Zappi by moving the charger to charge in export mode via the app. This means that once the battery is full, the app knows that there is excess flowing back into the grid and turns its attention to charging the car.
Air Source Heat Pump and Thermal Store
In addition, PV can be used to power an air source heat pump which in turn heats a thermal store. The thermal store is then used as a source of hot water for underfloor water heating and other hot water solutions.
Multiple Variations on the above theme
In addition Zappi have a great product called the EDDI which allows you to take solar PV power and direct it between your immersion heater and other devices in the home which need electricity.
What does the Future Hold?
On the converse it may be that you have an EV car but you don’t have a battery solution in your home. And in fact the lead time for some battery solutions is up to about a year for example for a Tesla Powerwall. With energy issues prevailing for some years to come, would it not be fantastic to be able to have the PV charge the car and then use the car battery to run your house electrics? We are not too far from this type of solution known as “Vehicle to Grid” or “V2G” as a reality and it would be a great boon to the domestic power industry to be able to do so allowing people to move off grid with any number of other energy consuming devices without having a Powerwall installation.
Some sort of switch like the EDDI, but allowing for more than 3 devices is needed. There is definitely a market for a type of device that takes power from PV and manages it across a number of energy consuming products such as a battery, a thermal store, an immersion heater, a car, a heat pump, a hot tub, a swimming pool etc..
Why not do everything from a battery? The answer is because it’s less energy efficient to convert solar energy into a battery and then into water and it’s also better for the environment to not have everything hanging off a battery. The device doesn’t quite exist in the market, but it’s only a matter of time in our never ending quest for sustainable energy.
Sister companies like Plumb4U and Electric4U are very well set up to advise on all of this, as they have the key skillsets in plumbing and electrics to design and install this type of solution. By all means give us a call if this is something you are interested in pursuing.
There are a number of things you can be doing to operate your property in a more energy efficient manner. Electric4U can help with this type of work. Contact our friendly and efficient team on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or prepare a quote now.