Solar-powered EV charging is here! Announcing Solar Smart Charging

July 19, 2021
Kathleen MacLean
Blog

ev.energy now lets you use your solar panels to smart charge your electric vehicle.

ev.energy’s new Solar Smart Charging feature allows you to smart charge your car with solar power. Our clever algorithm will now take into account how sunny it is when calculating the best time to charge your car. You can now charge your car with 100% self-generated, renewable energy!

This new feature is available worldwide and does not rely on any special hardware. Our solution uses your local 24-hour solar forecast to decide when to charge from solar. We use machine learning algorithms driven by satellite data and solar forecasts to predict your solar panels’ output.

ev.energy’s smart charging system already calculates the best time to charge your vehicle based on your electricity tariff, as well as when greener electricity is available from your supplier.

Now, we take into account a new dimension: how much solar energy is being generated in your home. This means we will now be able to choose to charge your car not only when electricity from your supplier is cheapest or greenest, but also during the day when the weather is at its sunniest.

Use your solar panels to charge your car

When you first turn on the Home Solar feature, you will be asked for the size of your solar array. Based on this, and on the latest solar forecast for your location, we will plan the smart charge that makes the most sense for you: charging from solar panels when the sun is shining, or from the grid at night or on overcast days.

Our Solar Smart Charging feature works with any car or charger compatible with the ev.energy app. No need for a solar-enabled home charger; our smart charging algorithm will take care of everything and schedule the best time to charge, either from solar panels, the grid, or both.

Future-proof solar EV charging

At ev.energy we’re passionate about zero-carbon charging. We are always looking to improve our smart charging service by making it as green and cheap as possible for everyone. With 95% of EV charging done at home and solar panels decreasing in price by 89% in the last decade, offering Solar Smart Charging to our users feels both exciting and necessary.

We have been successfully testing this feature with internal beta users for a few months, and are now making it available to all our users worldwide.

ev.energy offers a completely future proofed solution: because it can be used as software-only, it has zero initial cost for the user, and as time goes on we will be adding a variety of hardware integrations that will be added to and updated over the air, as part of future app releases.

Our aim is to be at the centre of the integration between your vehicle and everything in your smart home, including but not limited to your solar panels, your EV charger, your battery, and your smart meter.

How do I turn on Solar Smart Charging?

  1. Go to the Smart tab and turn on Smart Charging if you haven’t already
  2. Make sure the details for your current energy tariff are up to date, especially if you’re on a variable or off peak tariff. For Solar Smart Charging to reliably save you money, we need to know how much your energy supplier charges you and at what times.
  3. Tap “Solar (Beta)”
  4. Tell us the size of your solar array. If you’re not sure, a guess is fine – a 20 panel array is usually 5kW.
  5. Tell us about your inverter and battery, if you have one. We won’t be using that information to smart charge you just yet, but it will help us optimise solar smart charging in the coming months, and decide in which order to add more hardware integrations.
  6. That’s it! You are now set up for solar smart charging.

FAQ

How will I know when my car is being charged from my solar panels?

The dashboard will display “Solar charge scheduled” and “Solar smart charging now” statuses when Solar Smart Charging is on – see here for more details.

We currently cannot display whether a previous charging session was a solar session, although you might notice the reduction in the cost of that charge! We are working on adding this information to the app soon.

Is ev.energy’s Solar Smart Charging feature free?

Absolutely!

Is ev.energy’s Solar Smart Charging feature available worldwide?

Yes – our algorithm has data for anywhere you might be in the world.

Is Solar Smart Charging compatible with any hardware?

Yes! Because our solution is a simple software algorithm, it works with any home with solar panels. No specialist equipment is required.

If you have an Indra charger, you might want to use the Indra solar matching feature for now.

We will be integrating more solar-enabled chargers with our smart charging software solution as time goes on.

How is this different from other hardware solar solutions like Zappi?

ev.energy’s solution is future-proof.

It can be used as a software only solution with no specific hardware required. That’s great, as it means you don’t need to pay for specialist chargers to make it work. It also means you can get going straight away.

But we are also compatible with solar-enabled hardware! For example, our solution is compatible with the solar matching mode on the Indra Smart Pro, and we are continually integrating more partners.

Even without a smart charger, our beta testing proved that we can save our customer money by making better use of zero carbon home generated energy, without the need for specialist hardware.

What if it’s not sunny enough to charge my car?

We’ll top up from the grid – but only when it’s cheapest and greenest. It will never be more expensive for you to solar smart charge than to smart charge from the grid.

For more details, see “How does Solar Smart Charging calculate the best time to charge?

I don’t want all the energy from my solar panels to go to my car – what do I do?

We understand your solar panels are also used to power your home during daylight hours, and that you don’t want ev.energy to be able to count on all that energy going into your car. One easy way to solve this is to enter a smaller solar panel array size in the app settings.

For example, if your solar array is 10kW, and you want your house to use half of that – then indicate an array size of 5kW in the app.

How can Solar Smart charging save me money?

When we calculate the best smart charging schedule for you, we take into account:

  1. your solar energy generation
  2. your electricity tariff
  3. how carbon-intensive the energy coming from the grid is
  4. the demand and load on your supplier

The first two factors optimise for cost, and work hand in hand. Simply put:

  • we will charge your car during sunny times if it is the cheapest option
  • we will not charge your car during sunny times if we know that there will be cheaper electricity available later that day from the grid.

Therefore, if your electricity tariff is a variable tariff, you will need to enter your energy tariff details in the app in order for Solar Smart charging to reliably save you money.

For more details, see “How does Solar Smart Charging calculate the best time to charge?

This feature in beta mode – what does it mean?

We have been successfully testing Solar Smart Charging with a small group of users for a few months, and have now made it available to all ev.energy users worldwide.

We are now in the phase of gathering feedback from this much wider range of users. The feature is still in beta mode while we get feedback on whether it meets everyone’s solar charging expectations – so please get in touch with us through the app to give feedback!

I have more questions

Read our comprehensive Solar Smart Charging FAQ.

Or contact us at support@ev.energy – we’d love to help!

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