With electricity prices only heading in one direction, there never has been a better time to look into making the most of your solar generation.
Solar charging is something that we get asked about more often by the week and it really makes sense to look at the options available to you. Even with a small solar array, the costs of integrating the solar charging functions with your new EV charger quickly pay for themselves.
More and more manufacturers are beginning to offer solar charging capabilities and in this post we look into the different ways and installations methods to make the most of these smart EV chargers.
Without a doubt, MyEnergi are the manufacturer that really brought the idea of solar charging to market. Since then, many other chargers have followed in the footsteps of MyEnergi but none of them have really offered the full functionalities and capabilities that MyEnergi have.
To integrate the solar functions with the Zappi, an additional CT clamp is required to be installed around the feed of the solar generation. When this is local to the supply of which we install the EV charger from then this is a really simple task. We already run a data cable during the installation of the Zappi to enable the Load Management functions so all we have to do is connect an additional twisted pair to an extra CT clamp.
However, in life, things aren’t always easy! Many properties have multiple consumer units and the supply from which we install the Zappi is not always the same as which your solar installer has used. In these instances, MyEnergi have created a product which allows wireless CT readings to be taken. This device is called the Harvi.
Once these CT’s are installed, the Eco and Eco+ modes can be utilised. The Eco mode on the Zappi will charge your car at the minimum rate of 1.4kw until it sees that you are generating excess solar energy. The other mode, Eco Plus (Eco+) will not begin to charge your car until you are generating more solar energy than your property is consuming.
“But surely my car will not be charged in the morning” I hear you say!… Yes, we are aware in England it is often cloudy and miserable and you still need to be able to drive to work the next day. Thankfully, you can set ‘Boost’ times of which the Zappi will charge your car with power from the grid. This is really useful when you are on an agile energy tariff such as octopus where you can set the boost times from 12:30am to 4:30am to make the most of the cheap rates!
The additional CT clamp also allows for the use of battery systems to charge your EV (only AC).
Offering similar functionality to the Zappi, however, only needing the one CT clamp installed. This is the same CT clamp which is installed at the mains position for Dynamic Load Management. This means that there is no need for extra costs than the standard installation.
Inside the app, they have two modes. Eco Mode and Boost Mode. Eco mode will charge your vehicle with solar, and if you are using less than 1.4kW, it will top this up with electricity from the grid.
Boost mode will charge at the maximum rate your electric vehicle will allow (up to 7.2kW) whilst utilising as much solar as possible. The shortfall will be made up with electricity from the grid.
As of writing this post, there is a third mode which is due to be released; ‘Super Eco Mode’! This will charge your car with only solar energy. Bear in mind that a minimum of 1.4kw will need to be generated as this is the minimum charging rate an EV can utilise.
However, unlike MyEnergi, Hypervolt do not have functionality to take wireless CT readings. This is apparently due at a later date. So if you are installing the charger from a local sub-consumer unit from a different location from your solar, it is impossible to integrate solar charging.
CW Electrical (Bristol) Ltd offer you competitive quotations and workmanship to the highest standards in all aspects of electrics – Domestic, Commercial and Industrial Installations.