OlifeEnergy home chargers are compatible with the Wattrouter, a smart solution that helps you make the most of the solar power when it’s available and save energy when it would have to be drawn from the grid. What you should know about using surplus solar energy for charging your car?
If you are using fotovoltaic panels or are at least considering them, you’ve probably encountered the main conundrum of the solar power: “How do I make the most of my solar energy when it’s available, while consuming as little power from the grid as possible?”
The whole problem pivots around the fact that the solar power is dependent on two factors – the time of the day and weather, which means it’s rarely in sync with your needs. For example, typical family home needs most power in the evening, when the sun has already set and solar energy is not available. At the same time, the FV panels are most productive during the day, when most people are away from home.
Use the energy when it’s available
This leads to several problems. For one, solar energy either goes to waste or, even worse, is fed back to the grid, which may lead (depending on country and provider) to fines. For two, when the energy is actually needed, it has to be sourced from the grid, which means it has to be paid for. And it’s usually not from renewable sources.
One solution of this problem is to manage the energy consumption so that any energy use that is not especially time-sensitive is moved to the time when the solar power is going strong, and the Wattrouter is the way to do it. It manages the home’s (or other system’s, it works in company settings as well) energy ecosystem so that any surplus above the standard consumption is directed somewhere useful.
Typically, the surplus power is directed to the battery storage or to the appliances like heating, AC, pool filtration or EV charging. By consuming the energy that’s available, it is not necessary to take as much energy from the grid later.
Wattrouter and vehicle charging
Your car’s battery is the obvious place to store the excess energy. Compared to uses like heating or AC, it is much less time-sensitive, and it is usually able to absorb almost any amount of electricity that you may have to spare.
However, there are some things you need to consider. First and probably most obvious is the fact that charging your EV directly from solar panels only works if your car is plugged into the charger when the sun is shining and there actually is any excess energy. If you are away with the car for most of the day, this solution can’t, quite obviously, be very helpful. Of course, you can put the energy into a battery storage, but that’s a different engineering solution.
The other thing to consider is that an electric car needs quite a large amount of energy for charging. The on-board chargers of electric vehicles are designed to work with at least 6 amperes, which equals the power of 1,380 watts. If enough current isn’t available, the charging will not start – which means that if the power is not available from the photovoltaics, the system has to tap into the grid-sourced power. It is also possible to only charge on one or two phases instead of three, so only a clear solar energy can be used.
That being said, there are many scenarios where this functionality can be really useful. For example, if you don’t typically use your car for commute and it spends large part of the day in the garage, and you either have no electricity-intensive appliances running at all, or you have enough surplus on all phases, you can charge your car for free during the day, with the system able to redirect the energy flow anywhere else should you need to run some other appliance.
This can also be helped by setting up the Wattrouter’s energy management, with the car charging taking precedence when all three phases are available and directing the energy to other uses, like the aforementioned AC, heating, pool circulation and others, when one phase is put into use.
By teaming up the OlifeEnergy chargers with the Wattrouter, you can make much better use of the available sunlight and the “free” electricity you are making in your fotovoltaic system. This is especially useful in homes or company buildings with large solar panels and one or more cars being typically present during the sunlight hours.