Solar PV and electric car chargers 

The perfect partnership

Brighton Energy Co-op is installing electric car charge points alongside solar PV so you can now charge up your car with locally produced, community owned, green electricity.

Our first charge point is live

Now you can top up your car whilst you top up your wine rack, as our first solar-linked electric car charge point is now live at Bolney Wine Estate, just off the A23/A272 in West Sussex.

Over half of the electricity used annually by the vineyard already comes from the BEC owned solar PV on their roofs and now visitors can charge their electric vehicles from the sun too. 

“We have been guided by nature since we started in 1972” says Sam Linter, Head Winemaker and Managing Director of Bolney Wine Estate. “Powering our site, and now our customers’ cars, with renewable energy fits with our ethos of producing quality, award-winning wines with minimum impact on the planet. Become grounded in nature and enjoy our beautiful estate while the electricity generated from the sun charges your vehicle.”

As well as powering cleaner transport, the profits from charging are cycled back into developing more community owned renewables

 

The charge points

We have selected Pod Point as our charge point technology partner. Pod Point already have 1000’s of charging points installed in homes, workplaces and public spaces across the UK and is regularly voted one of the top charge points in user surveys.

Which cars can use the network and how long will my car take to charge?

Pod Point charge points are compatible with all plug in vehicle brands

How long? Well, it depends on the amount of charge you need and the size of your car’s battery. We’re installing fast chargers (7kW & 22kW) which are ideal for topping up if you’re just visiting for a short time or a doing a full charge if you’re there all day e.g. at work.

Detailed instructions for using the Pod Point chargers are available here

How do I find and use the BEC charge points?

As we add new charge points to our network we will put them on Zap Map, regional maps such as Electric Brighton and Pod Point’s own map.  Zap Map and Pod Point also show the cost to charge, opening hours and current availability of the charge points at each site. There are no subscription or membership fees, just pay for the electricity you use.

Charging is controlled through the Pod Point app which can be downloaded from the usual app stores.

Background

In Summer 2019, BEC was awarded funding by the Power to Change Next Generation Community Energy Programme to identify suitable sites with existing solar PV and install charge points for electric cars. As the government’s Feed in Tariff has now ended, we need to find alternative income streams for future community energy projects. Therefore in this initial set of charge point installations, we’ll determine whether charging electric cars will provide sufficient additional income to make community owned solar and charge points a suitable combination in the future. 

We’ll also be talking to members of the local communities at each site to understand their transport needs and see what benefits community-owned charge points could bring.

Finally, we’ll be developing the charge point and solar business model as a template package that can be rolled out by us and other community energy schemes nationwide.

Can we have a BEC Community car charge point?

We are looking for more sites to install solar PV and charge points, so if you have a suitable roof or space of at least 500m2 get in touch at damian@brightonenergy.org.uk