Add EV charger installation to your services now

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The clean energy market is constantly evolving and solar installers are accustomed to adapt. Installation of solar water heaters was quickly overtaken by the move to rooftop solar power. Threats to net metering and increased utility shutdowns have forced contractors to get used to installing batteries alongside more advanced solar layouts. Similarly, Accelerating the Adoption of Household Batteries Moreover, a new product called a two-way EV charger could turn the market upside down again.

Electric vehicle batteries are an underutilized asset. As a portable energy storage system (ESS) with a much larger capacity than his currently sold stationary ESS, it makes sense to utilize the unit while sitting in the garage. The hardware that enables it, a two-way EV charger, should start hitting the market in earnest later this year or early 2024. Solar installers would be wise to get involved with EVs now, as residential customers are beginning to see favorable economics. said Shawn McLaughlin, CEO of home energy management company Emporia Energy.

“Using your car is much more cost-effective [as a home battery]The cost of the battery is taken over when the car is purchased,” he said. “Looking at home battery systems, installation would cost him over $1,000/kWh. Leveraging a car battery with a two-way charger would cost him nearly $50 per kWh installed. It’s a big deal.


A two-way charger charges an EV’s battery and pumps the power to your home or grid. This V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) and V2H (Vehicle-to-Home) power transfer is also collectively known as V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything). Currently installed EV chargers are unidirectional and only transfer power to the battery. There are three factors preventing V2X from becoming a more valuable option. 1) EV brands need to allow dual power flow, 2) more bi-directional chargers need to be certified and manufactured, 3) utilities and grid operators need to understand (and compensate). This new distributed energy resource with

Ford introduces backup function

Although intriguing.when Ford announced The public took note that the company’s electric F-150 Lightning’s 131 kWh battery could be used as a home backup through the “Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System.” GM Coming Soon The company is testing V2X capabilities, and companies like Emporia, Wallbox and Enphase are working on their own two-way EV chargers.

V2X software developer fermata energy A first for a two-way charger company UL9741 certification, a standard that covers bi-directional charging equipment and includes the ability to export power to the grid. His FE-15 charger from Fermata recently had ford charger (manufactured by Siemens) UL9741 certificationFermata’s FE-15 charger is also the only charger approved to work with the Nissan LEAF, the first mass-produced EV in the United States.

Fermata Energy CEO David Slutzky said the market opportunity for V2X is enormous. This is important not only for EV drivers seeking emergency backup or compensation for participating in the grid, but also for utilities and grid operators seeking access to a large network of dispatchable energy assets.

Nissan using Fermata two-way charger

“By extracting multiple value streams from parked electric vehicles and presenting them to different customers, V2X suddenly becomes more cost-effective as an asset and more efficient on the grid. renewable energy deployment,” he said.

While the benefits for EV owners are clear, grid operators using V2X will have significant energy resources without having to build or maintain a site.As an example, almost 200,000 Nissan Leaf Available in the US since 2011. With the 2023 LEAF coming standard with a 40 kWh battery, we can estimate that the LEAF alone has about 8 GWh of battery capacity in your garage.In comparison, the United States spent billions of dollars in the same period 13.4 GWh of stationary energy storage capacity. Add the likes of Tesla, Chevrolet Volt, and Ford F-150 Lightning to the equation, and you’ll finally be able to appreciate the grid benefits of V2X, Slutzky said.

“V2X doesn’t replace fixed storage, but it surrounds fixed storage and provides a huge amount of additional storage,” he said. “Nissan Leaf has his 4.5 powerwalls under the hood and comes with free leather seats and air conditioning. Ford F-150 Lightning literally costs more under the hood storage than the vehicle costs is worth it.”

still to do

Despite the high interest, the industry needs to address the three hurdles above to make V2X work. First, EVs need to be able to use their batteries in dual-flow situations. Until recently, EV makers were concerned about battery cycling from use outside of normal driving. The EV warranty now better reflects battery usage in his V2X situation, and Slutzky says his EV models currently on the market feature two-way tap-ins.

Emporia’s two-way charger prototype

Bi-directional chargers are lagging in development as technology is clearly more advanced than uni-directional chargers for EVs. A more powerful inverter must be installed to allow AC to DC power exchange. That double power transfer creates heat, so more fans and higher rated enclosures should be used. Add software development to allow consumers to use their chargers like they would any other smart device, and allow utilities to access that power, and suddenly you’re building much larger and more complex products. Become.

that is emporia energy learning. The home energy management company manufactures smart plugs, energy monitors, ESS, and conventional his EV chargers, Early 2022 It makes for an affordable two-way charger. McLaughlin said the company is working on certification and testing and expects Emporia V2X chargers to hit the market. 2024.

“Considering the power conversion and heat generated, it is much better than a level 2 charger. Secondly, the need for an automatic transfer switch and an energy monitoring system to detect when the grid is down. Then we will throw in the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) voltage regulation standard,” he said. “All these things just piled up. It all adds up.

Brent Alderfer, CEO and founder of Electric Frog Company. Michael Emond, manager of the Brillville Wastewater Treatment Plant. With Wallace Ridgeway, director of asset deployment for Fermata Energy, during an electric vehicle delivery in Rhode Island.

Perhaps most importantly, match the utility to its benefits. This is where companies with grid-capable software have an advantage. Emporia is no stranger to helping customers participate in grid programs, and Fermata really wants to be his V2X software provider that other two-way chargers use. Fermata is already working with various utilities to come up with new monetization mechanisms to access the V2X value stream. The company’s V2X software allows the EVs used by employees of the city of Brillville, Rhode Island to send back power Connect to Rhode Island Energy (formerly National Grid) and get covered through the ConnectedSolutions program.Another Fermata setup in Boulder, Colorado, reducing peak power demand for city buildings, saving the city an average of $270 per month. That’s roughly equivalent to the monthly cost of a Nissan Leaf.

“Today, most people think of V2H as a backup power source, and that’s because of the Ford Lightning. Things will change quickly once people realize that grid parity saves them money,” McLaughlin said. says Mr. “Early adopters are bought as spares and go viral when they can cut their electricity bills by 50%. , will only be used while the grid is stopped.”

Where Solar Installer Fits

Installing an EV charger is not plug-and-play and equipping more homes and businesses with two-way products will require contractors who are familiar with electrical connections. A two-way charger can be installed if you know how to install it.

“Installing a two-way charger is similar to installing a solar + battery inverter. It might be a little easier because you’re not dealing with big, heavy battery modules,” McLaughlin said. “Of course, it has to be installed somewhere accessible to the EV, but the actual electrical work is very similar, just a little less complicated than the battery.”

Some solar contractors are already looking ahead. Kevin Nickels, Vice President of Sales for Residential Installers Nickel energy solution (NES) said his crew is looking forward to the opportunity for two-way EVs to hit the market. With more customers wanting energy storage but still unsatisfied with its pricing, Nickel said two-way charging could change their sales conversation.

“In nearly every customer interaction, the topic of energy storage comes up. People want it, but there’s sticker shock that immediately follows the quote conversation,” he said. What excites me about EV chargers is the availability of larger batteries and the fact that EV chargers are going to be cheaper. [than a stationary ESS] With larger batteries now available, it feels like a better solution for homeowners. “

Nickels also believes the installation of the two-way charger will keep the NES busy during the off-season Sun Moon in upstate New York.

“I don’t want to build a big team because in winter it really slows me down,” he said. “But if EV chargers become so common for us, it will be the perfect winter working range.”

McLaughlin believes the two-way EV charger installation market will increase solar opportunities for contractors.

“I think the majority of two-way installations will be done by people who don’t have solar systems. The EV market is huge and growing much faster than the solar business. As a power generation installer, there are many opportunities,” he said. “Customer referrals are a two-way street between sales and installation. You will be able to upsell.

“As a solar installer, it will be a great opportunity to add additional revenue streams and build an additional customer base for future solar installations,” continued McLaughlin. “Continuous customer acquisition is very costly, so being able to resell to existing customers is much more profitable.”

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