Electric vehicles could turn solar households into autonomous energy units

Many discussions abound on how Australia can reach renewable energy targets of 50 per cent and much more. Many experts believe achieving this goal will depend on the availability of a low cost, bulk energy storage infrastructure.

Pumped hydro has received much attention in this regard. While technically feasible, bulk storage still requires transmission and distribution infrastructure that is not only costly but will take considerable time to implement.

A far simpler and cost effective route is the bottom-up approach of turning each house into an autonomous energy unit.

OVO Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charging (Image: T. Larkum/Fuel Included)

OVO Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charging (Image: T. Larkum/Fuel Included)

The use of solar panels in homes and small industry has proven to be remarkably successful. The uptake of rooftop solar has been so good that the grid, as well as losing a portion of their market to solar, is becoming unable to use all of the exportable household solar energy generated during clear days.

Without some form of energy storage, solar panels can provide only around 30% of daily household energy, leaving the grid to supply the rest. Solar hot water systems can bring the total solar contribution to around 45% of energy requirements.

However, to reach greater household energy autonomy requires storage.

The missing element to achieving high levels of renewable energy has emerged in the form of the Electric Vehicle (EV). EVs not only provide transportation, but also have significant battery storage capacity.

Read more: The Driven

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