At Dandelion Renewables we design and build energy storage systems that use batteries for various applications including off-grid energy, grid backup, and grid peak demand shaving. We are passionate about using the latest and most cost-effective technologies for each system we provide.
One of the emerging technologies that we are excited about is V2G (Vehicle-To-Grid) chargers for EVs (Electric Vehicles). V2G chargers allow the energy in an electric vehicle battery to power the electrical utility grid along with the electrical loads connected to the grid (e.g. lights, refrigerator, microwave, HVAC). For certain off-grid energy locations and specific lifestyles, there may be a future opportunity to integrate an EV energy storage battery with an off-grid home energy solution. The main reasons to do this are:
- Reduce the size and cost of the battery bank that would stay at the home to power the critical loads while the EV and owners are away (e.g. refrigerator, lights, home automation system).
- Reduce the initial cost needed for power generation systems at the home (e.g. solar PV and wind power), as the EV can be charged away from the home and transport that energy back to the home.
The off-grid home power requirements could be satisfied by the electric vehicle battery energy while the EV is home. While the electric vehicle is away, the critical loads in the home (e.g. refrigerator and lighting) could be powered with renewable energy sources (e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV), wind power, micro-hydro turbine, etc), and with a small battery bank and backup generator. If the EV is home through the day it could be charged (optionally) from renewable energy sources at the home, and while the electric vehicle is away from the home, it would receive a charge at those other locations.
This would work well for EV owners that don’t use a large portion of their electric vehicle battery capacity for daily driving, and who have easy access to fast-charging locations through the day (e.g. grid power or solar PV carports at work). For multi-vehicle homes or off-grid communities, this off-grid home energy system gets even more interesting where one or more EVs may be at home most days while another EV is away.
One of the exciting aspects of this off-grid EV energy storage concept is that an off-grid home could be afforded with or without an immediate renewable energy investment required and rely on charging the EV while away from the home, then bringing that energy back to power the home.
The next steps and hurdles for this off-grid electric vehicle battery energy technology would be to:
- Continue the introduction of more EVs on the road (strongly expected),
- Commercialize vehicle-to-grid technology (expected to happen to minimize the risk of EV chargers overloading power grids at certain times of the day),
- Reach approval by manufacturers to use their V2G chargers and EV batteries for applications like off-grid home energy, grid peak demand shaving, and grid backup, without voiding any product warranties.
- Integrate the control systems for the home energy system to manage which energy sources get used to power certain loads, and at what time of day. For example, the home energy management system will maintain a reserve charge level on the EV battery so there is plenty of EV range remaining for the morning commute to work.