SOLAR POWER AND ITS IMPORTANCE FOR ELECTRO-MOBILITY

Solar power is become increasingly popular thanks to its undeniable green credentials, improving efficiency, and decreasing costs. More and more people are investing in harnessing the inexhaustible supply of solar power the sun provides to light, warm, or cool their homes, offices, and boats. With advances in solar panel development their application continues to broaden.

 

Electro-mobility

electric vehicle charging

A significant manifestation of acting on the urgent need to move to cleaner energy forms and away from greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels has been Electro-mobility or e-Mobility. This refers to the development and introduction of electric vehicles (EV) of various kinds. Thus far the majority of these have been plug-in vehicles that draw fossil-fuel derived electricity from the grid and store power in the battery.

 

That, clearly, is not a full solution. To fully meet the objective the source of power of energy should no longer rely on tapping into ‘dirty’ energy from a grid linked to fossil-fuel manufactured electricity. For those individuals who have been able to make the investment in solar technology and an EV the value of using them together is huge and the future of e-Mobility and solar power in partnership is bright indeed!

 

Solar and e-Mobility: a perfect marriage

 

The solar panel or photovoltaic (PV) panel and battery setup at your home or office has been created to store and provide a certain amount of power. Knowing the battery capacity you have at your disposal is crucial as some systems aren’t able to produce what an EV requires. You need to be aware of how many volts (V), amps per hour (Ah), and watts per hour (Wh) your system offers. According to Home Power, the average electric vehicle will “need a system that can provide about 12 kWh of daily charging energy”.

 

If your existing system isn’t up to the job you have alternatives when it comes to solutions. One effective and fairly cost effective solution is to set up a fairly simple solar array dedicated to charging the vehicle’s battery. There are even ways to get around the problem that drivers may well experience: only being at home at night when the sun is no longer shining. You can feed solar power into the grid and then draw it when you need it or—a much more expensive option—you can install an additional bank of batteries attached to an inverter. You could of course use a charging station rather than your own premises.

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The undeniable power and value of solar power and the advent of the EV which one simply plugs in has led to the creation of an ever expanding network of solar charging stations. This allows commuters to plug their vehicles in while they work or shop.

 

Some of these charging stations look more like conventional gas stations and others look like car parks with car ports overhead. These are covered with PV panels and the driver attaches the EV to one of the power cables provided. The only potential problem here is if your normal routine doesn’t take you anywhere near a charging station.

 

The shape of things to come

 

The research and development around solar power and e-Mobility is becoming increasingly intertwined.

 

  • Picture3Grids and solar charging: there is constant work taking place with regard to more effective and cleaner grids. The number, capacity, and sophistication of solar charging stations are constantly evolving. In Japan, for instance, they are introducing cordless charging pads in parking lots.

 

  • The vehicles: some car manufacturers such as Audi and Toyota are making use of advances in photovoltaic panel designs and applications in a few hybrid cars. However, at this stage roof-mounted panels can’t generate enough power to drive the vehicle. In addition, these panels require silica which is a very costly material.

 

R&D is continuing, though, and Ford has a concept car which Extreme Tech claims can boost the battery when the vehicle is parked in the sun. They go on to state that US-based company designs PV panels for car roofs that can apparently “harvest 50% more energy over the same surface than conventional cells”.

 

Conclusion

 

While it is not difficult to track trends and quantify the number of electric and hybrid cars on the roads globally, what is still very hard to assess is how many EV owners are using the powerful combination of e-Mobility and solar. Using the renewable, sustainable, and clean energy from the sun to charge one of these vehicles is not only the smart—and increasingly affordable—thing to do, it makes a contribution to dumping fossils fuels which we must do!