Researchers from the University of South Australia have found that the use of solar panels can help decrease the costs associated with the charging of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles, also known as EVs, are critical to the transition to clean energy and are essential to the global endeavor to reduce carbon emissions. As the number of electric vehicle sales increases around the world, prospective purchasers need to be persuaded about the practicality and cost of charging their vehicles. When it comes to getting a better deal on electric vehicles (EVs), residences that are equipped with solar panels and batteries have an advantage, according to the findings of researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA). It has been determined that owners of electric vehicles can cut their annual electricity expenses by almost forty percent if their homes are not totally dependent on the grid.

The article, “Techno-economic modelling for energy cost optimization of households with electric vehicles and renewable sources under export limits” which was published in Renewable Energy, addresses the concerns of EV owners about the costs of charging their vehicles, which is a significant barrier to the adoption of EVs.

There are currently 11 million electric vehicles on the road, but it is predicted that by the year 2030, there will be 145 million EVs, which is a significant increase from the current number of 11 million. In 2022, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) continued to rise around the world after breaking all previous records in 2021. However, for this growth to continue, the barriers that are currently in the EV market must be removed.

According to a statement made by Professor Mahfuz Aziz of the University of South Australia, “Electric vehicles will become an important component of household energy consumption globally under plans to replace gasoline-fueled cars within the next decade.”

“Charging at home is the most convenient option for drivers who have private parking spaces,” but “the costs could mount significantly for those who are still totally dependent on the electricity grid for their energy.”

As a result, Aziz and his colleagues are working on finding ways to lower the expenses of charging, which is one of the primary barriers preventing more people from purchasing EVs.

Solar panels offer a solution to this problem

Because of the record low prices for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems and the decreasing costs of batteries, households are being encouraged to “go green.” However, customers must take into account a number of different factors.

When comparing the various household situations, the researchers looked at data from South Australia, where more than forty percent of houses have solar panels installed on their rooftops. Within this, they considered factors such as the demand for electric vehicle charging, the expense of installing photovoltaic solar panels, battery degradation, and export power limits.

The researchers compared the yearly expenses for energy for households that had cars that ran on petrol to those that had electric vehicles. This was calculated using the average energy consumption of South Australian households (17 kW/day) and the average daily journey distance of South Australian drivers (36.7km in Australia). The consumption of energy during prime hours, from five in the afternoon until nine at night, was also analyzed.

Aziz elaborated, saying, “In the most fundamental scenario, all of the energy is brought in from the grid, and there are no solar panels, batteries, or electric vehicles.”

“The installation of solar panels results in a reduction of approximately 20% in the amount of energy imported, and the addition of batteries results in a reduction of approximately 83%.” The addition of electric vehicles results in a substantial increase in total energy consumption; however, the amount of imported energy can be cut by approximately 89% of total consumption.

“Our findings indicate that households with gasoline-powered vehicles can cut their yearly energy costs by 6.71% by utilizing solar panels and by 10.38% by incorporating a battery system into their energy production. It is possible to cut annual energy expenses by 24% and 32%, respectively, by switching from gasoline-powered automobiles to electric vehicles. Off-peak pricing presents the opportunity for the greatest reduction (39.6%), which can be attained.

At the moment, the group is looking into ways to charge electric vehicles in larger groups that are both cost-effective and have a minimal influence on the power grid and distribution feeders. These larger groups include residential communities and university campuses, for example.