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Charge your electric vehicle with solar power at home

Posted: 05 Nov 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electric vehicle  Passive House  electromobility  PV power  smart grid 

Fraunhofer researchers developed a home energy management system that incorporates electric vehicles into the household energy network and creates charging itineraries.

The house of the future is environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and smart. Its inhabitants can utilise rooftop-generated PV energy not only for household consumption but also to charge their personal electric vehicle. This scenario has already become reality for a collection of row houses built according to the "Passive House" standard in the German city of Fellbach in Baden-Württemberg.

The group of new homes was upgraded as part of the "Fellbach ZeroPlus" project to include electromobility enhancements as well as a comprehensive energy management system. The initiative is sponsored by the German Federal Government's "Electric Mobility Showcase" programme.

Fast charging stations and home energy management

"The large photovoltaic systems on the rooftops of the houses provide more power than the inhabitants consume over the long term. Surplus power can be fed into the public grid as well as be used for charging the household electric vehicle," explains Dominik Noeren, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg.

To efficiently incorporate electromobility enhancements into the daily routines of the households, Noeren and his team designed a 22kW fast charging station as well as a home energy management system (HEMS) for five of the seven homes. The Java-based HEMS software runs on small computers known as embedded systems. The HEMS collects data from the various electricity meters in the house, including those for the photovoltaic system, the electric vehicle, the heat pump and general household power. The system displays the various power flows and informs the homeowners about their current power consumption at any time of the day.

Solar vehicle

An electric vehicle is charged with photovoltaic power from the roof of the house using a charging station. (Source: Fraunhofer ISE)

"They can see how much power is coming from either the public grid or the household solar system, and they can see where it is going – to the heat pump, household appliances or the electric vehicle," says Noeren.

Furthermore, the HEMS also forecasts solar intensity over the next 20 hours or so and provides users with information on how much solar power is available. An adaptive algorithm also computes anticipated household power loads for each quarter hour. Using this data, it is possible to determine how much PV power is available for the electric vehicle at any given time.

"Electricity from the PV first goes to the house, and power that is not consumed there is stored in the electric vehicle battery. If there is still any electricity left over after that, it is fed into the public electricity grid," explains Noeren.

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