A project in which a rapid charging station for electric vehicles was equipped with solar panels and a local energy storage battery system was started in 2016. Project partners Alfen (energy storage systems), Stedin (grid operator) and MisterGreen (EV lease) have evaluated this pilot to be a success: peak loads decreased, maximum flexibility in offering variable price rates was attained, and the charging station itself became even more sustainable.
The number of electric vehicles is rapidly expanding, creating a need for more charging stations. In 2013, MisterGreen built the rapid charging station ‘Haarrijn’ at the A2 highway between Amsterdam and Utrecht. The pilot station with solar panels and local energy storage was commissioned in 2016. These solar panels provide the charging station with energy. If no vehicles are connected, the generated energy is diverted into the energy storage system, to be used when electric vehicles do connect to charge. This enables maximum usage of sustainably generated energy. Whenever the solar panels and battery do run out of energy, the system can of course always fall back on the central grid.
After one year operation of the project David Peters, Director of Strategy & Innovation at grid operator Stedin, reflects: ‘Daily practice tends to be more complex than theoretical plans, but that was not the case here. As vehicle charging processes were not constantly relying on our central grid, peak loads on our cables reduced which extends their lifecycles. It also learned us how to cope with peaks on our grid for this specific application, which is highly valuable knowledge during the energy transition. We can now turn these lessons into cost reductions, and offer lower prices to our customers’.
The project also proved to be a success for MisterGreen: ‘This pilot offered us many useful insights about energy storage, both in terms of practical application and its influence on the central grid. Our ultimate objective is to offer electric vehicle users flexible rates. Combining solar panels with local energy storage provides maximum flexibility to do that. It’s wonderful how we can offer our users lower rates whenever there’s more wind or sunshine’, explains Mark Schreurs, one of the founders of MisterGreen.
Richard Jongsma, Commercial Director at Alfen, adds: ‘It’s great to see how our energy storage system contributes to making this station more sustainable and optimally utilize its assets, by using every last bit of locally generated solar energy to charge electric vehicles’.