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.

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, Plug Share and 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.

Which charge points are in the BEC network?

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) 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

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. We also administer an EDRF fund to subsidise the cost of solar PV & EV charging for small & medium size businesses in our Community Solar Accelerator program. Mode details here. 

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. 

Our research project has now finished and the final report can be downloaded here.

So can EV charge points make a meaningful contribution to community energy projects? Potentially.

With the phasing out of fossil fuel powered vehicles over coming years, there will be a mass conversion to electric vehicles, alongside encouragement to use more sustainable forms of transport. Siting the chargers alongside renewable generation not only gives a greener charge for the car, it also is a lower cost source of electricity, but being able to identify which source is being used is key to minimising cost of electricity supplied to the charger and therefore margins which can then be put towards funding community projects. Choosing the location of your charge point carefully is also key to ensuring regular usage. Our report contains lots of top tips for community energy organisations thinking about installing charge points. We have also developed several tools for assessing site suitability, forecasting future revenues, template contracts etc which are available to other community energy groups on request. Drop us an email to damian@brightonenergy.org.uk