CSTEP’s pilot study in collaboration with the state-run Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) demonstrates the idea of directly using solar energy to charge EVs. The project was funded by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.
Schematic showing the overall architecture of a grid-tied solar plus storage system connected to an EV charging station
The project aims to connect renewable energy generation and EV charging load, thereby driving the simultaneous adoption of the two emerging technologies. At present, certain states have special tariffs (subsidised rates) for EV charging, which the DISCOMs cannot sustain in the long run. In this context, RTPV systems (excluding BESS), whose cost of generation has currently become very competitive to the grid tariff, form an effective alternative as a low-cost energy source.
The project findings suggest that electric vehicle charging stations with solar RTPV are economically viable and ready for wide-spread adoption (current levelised cost of RTPV is competitive with the retail electricity rate for EV charging). However, the problem of mismatch between solar energy generation and consumption (from EV charging) may increase the overall cost.
This can be solved by deploying a net-metering mechanism at such charging stations. Allowing net-metering at public EV charging stations that adopt solar RTPV systems will maximise their utilisation, thereby reducing operational costs.
CSTEP's study demonstrates that solar energy can be a viable, green alternative for EV charging in India.