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    Can EV Charging Units Be Made Self-Sustainable Using Renewable Energy Sources?

    June 28, 2022 - Hiren Pravin Shah


      Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the world’s future transport systems. With the rise in pollution and its effects on the environment, there has been a large-scale movement towards EVs. But the plug-point availability for charging is a serious problem faced by most EV consumers. Therefore, there is a definite need to move from the grid-based or connected charging stations to standalone off-grid stations for charging the EVs.

      With rapidly growing energy needs, energy generation using conventional resources has cost us both financially and environmentally. Solar radiation (insolation/irradiance) is a renewable, inexpensive and an inexhaustible source of energy, which can certainly fulfil these rapidly increasing energy demands of today with a very less carbon footprint on the environment.

      Today, the usage of renewable energy for different kinds of consumer needs from electricity generation to EVs has resulted in reduced consumption of non-renewable energy in the world which has reduced dependency on fossil fuels.

      Yes, the EV Charging units can be made self-sustainable using renewable energy sources like solar, wind, fuel-cells, etc.. An off-grid EV Charging station proves to be a cost-effective solution as there is a reduction in installation costs and eliminates high demand charges from the grid for vehicle charging. The best part is the energy can be generated & consumed locally with minimum losses and impact on the already polluted grid.

      An off-grid EV Charging station can be made robust and reliable by using an optimum sized Battery Storage System along with the Solar generation and make the system standalone and available in off grid mode. It will offer resilience against grid outages and can deliver quality power during power outages, emergency responses, or natural disaster situations.

      A system architecture for a typical off-grid EV Charging Station powered by a Solar and Battery Storage System has been is up and running for a year now in Modhera village in Gujarat. Basically, here the EV charging stations get the electricity power from the solar system during the daytime, harnessing the renewable green energy from the sun and the excess power is stored in a Battery Storage System. This Battery Storage System acts as a strong support system to this EV Charging Station by catering to the demand at night-time, during peak hours of the day, and even during the off-grid time. The brilliance of this system is that the EV Charging Station can be made operational and available to consumers during power outages and non-solar generation days. The EV Charging Stations works in a micro-grid mode and caters to the charging demand via the Battery Storage System. In this system, there are multiple AC and DC Chargers deployed under a solar rooftop Car Parking area which can cater to all kinds of EVs simultaneously. From an electric 2-wheeler to an electric car and even an electric bus can be charged from this entire off-grid system.

      Benefits of an Off-Grid EV Charging Station:

      1. SAFE: The entire system is designed considering the best safety performance parameters. It is equipped with (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) HVAC, (Battery Management System) BMS & FFS (Fire Suppression System). The system shall be fully compliant with the UN, UL & IEC global safety & performance standards.
      2. SMART: With the use of a smart Energy Management System for control & monitoring of the complete system, the system can deliver the best optimised throughput utilising the best of both Solar & Battery Energy systems. Also, the off-grid Charging stations can be integrated up to Level 3 Chargers where multiple numbers of EVs can be charged simultaneously.
      3. PORTABLE: The main benefit of using this system is the high transportability by using a container & ship without any specific permissions. A plug-and-play design help in the easy installation of the complete system.
      4. SCALABLE: With modular design, the systems can be easily scalable at multiple site locations. These off-grid systems can also be paralleled together to deliver more power & energy capacity as per the demand.

      Now, the advantage of such systems is that it can be easily configured and customised with a wide range of energy capacity and charging rates. Any brand EV Chargers with compliant standards can be utilised for normal & fast charging. This can be further configured to work with multiple power sources and different load types. With the use of an Energy management system as a part of the Battery Storage system, the system response time is extremely fast i.e., under 100ms.

      Hence, with a robust and reliable off-grid EV Charging system, we can make the EV Charging units self-sustainable using renewable sources. A net-zero EV Charging Solution will further empower the EV charging infrastructure for a sustainable future.

      Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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