Solar PV power is getting more effective with lower cost, and this trend has made it a popular option for home owners who are interested in raising greener lifestyles. A report in TIME explains residential PV systems’ best partner – electric vehicles.
The revolutionary – maybe awkward at first hearing – partnership is a fruit of the fastest-growing clean energy resource and the most common energy storage system. Every electric vehicle needs at least one set of battery to store power for transporting, and this “battery” can be used as an energy storage device to store electricity generated from PV systems. Why is an energy storage device so important to PV systems, especially residential ones? There are two major reasons: first, it helps PV system owners to completely consume every electric current comes from the sun; second, it can help balance the power supply and demand gaps in peak and off-peak periods.
A house usually consumes more electricity during the night than the day. However, it is the day when PV systems generate most power. Accordingly, there often are big gaps between peak and off-peak demand. An energy storage system installed with PV systems can balance this gap by storage PV power during the day for residential use at night. For home owners who prefer taking the best advantage of PV systems, power grid and feed-in tariffs (if any), the power storage device can help them sell electricity back to the power supplier and buy cheaper power during the off-peak period for residential use. Additionally, energy storage systems can basically prevent unused power from being wasted, leading a more effective way of power consumption.
So, it seems necessary for residential PV system owners to find an energy storage system. An independent storage device might be a good choice, but it is even better for you to purchase an electric vehicle as long as you do have a PV system for your home.
Opower, a firm that uses software and behavioral science to help utilities promote energy conservation, found that EV owners prefer charging during off-peak hours to save more money. The TIME’s essay explains the best formula for households who have both PV systems and EVs: charging EVs during the day by solar panels, and consuming or selling power during the night. This “partnership” can not only fill in the gap between peak and off-peak demand problem, but also can have greener lifestyles. What an economic and eco-friendly companion!
Both EVs and solar panels become more acceptable to households. For whom possesses one of them, it’s strongly recommended to purchase the other for the more effective power management. Meanwhile, each one of them can be more attractive to the other. As more countries are trying to implement feed-in tariff schemes and subsidies for solar panels and EVs, it seems possible for us to meet a future that every house owns a mini solar power plant which is able to provide transportation.
Michael Grunwald, author of the report, concludes: “You could imagine a future where solar panels and EV’s (perhaps with additional backup storage, like the wall-mounted batteries Solar City and Tesla recently launched) help Americans declare independence from the grid, the way mobile phones have set us free from landlines. More likely, though, the clean energy revolution will just change our relationship to the grid. Our utilities will be as dependent on us as we are dependent on them. And we’ll have power over our power.”