Homes and Cars Share a Charge with Solar Power Systems
Home energy management can now include your electric car
For owners of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems, being able to power a home using sunlight is its own reward. Soon, these homeowners could enjoy the added benefit of using PV systems to charge their electric vehicles—and they’ll have solar energy research institute Fraunhofer ISE to thank—propelling homes of the future closer to being self-supplied, environmentally-friendly, and energy-efficient ecosystems.
For the researchers at Fraunhofer ISE, the offering is nothing more than a practical use of the excess energy that home rooftop arrays create. As Dominik Noeren, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, explains in Phys.org, “the large photovoltaic systems on the rooftops of the houses provide more power than the inhabitants consume over the long term.”
Cars are fed surplus juice through fast-charging stations that sit on the side of a driveway (as pictured above). Specially designed software runs through the electricity meters corresponding to the PV system, household power and the electric car, collecting usage data and notifying homeowners of their daily power consumption through an app. Users can then control a station directly from the application or inform themselves on the estimated completion time of any given charge.
Though one is able to feed the surplus power into a public grid, in addition to using it for charging vehicles, “it is more cost effective to consume the self-generated solar electricity than to feed it into the public electricity grid,” says Noeren. In the German city of Fellbach in Baden-Württember, a group of houses already take advantage of this upgraded energy supply.
With the roof serving as crown to the future home’s energy management system, homeowners will be able to optimize their own home-based energy needs while relieving overworked public energy grids in the process. Environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient residences, then, could be important components of future cities and the ways we get around them.