To open a Charging Station for Electric Vehicles may be a good business opportunity, according to our simulation.
We’ve runned a draft model to simulate the economics of an EV recharging station deployed at an existing gas-station. The model assumes the electricity costs of Italy (Italy has among the highest cost in the EU).
The model considers the infrastructure costs required to set up two plugs connected to a 50 kW AC/DC station (DC for fast charge) and the operational costs connected to run the station 12 hours/day operator-assisted and 12 hours as a pure self-service.
To simplify the model it is considered the most popular EV on the market as the standard car (Nissan Leaf). By tuning the number of kWh delivered per day and the the local cost of the electricity, the models delivers the pay-back time of the investment. Some of the features included in the investment could be added in a second phase to lower the start-up capital: the roof over the plugs, the fast-charge DC inverter.
The business would benefit from cross-selling services during the recharging time, taking between 30 minutes to 2 hours like refreshings from the local bar, additional car-services: car check-up, motor oil, car wash (internally).
Start-ups like the British ChargeMaster or the Dutch Fastned are already down to the network-deployment phase, and seem to confirm the realism about a similar business model.
The beckoning idea is that the major hindrance perceived by prospect EV buyers is the range – not price, not design, not the lack of a broad product line. Though the overnight charge allow the car for a minimum 120 km even in tough winter conditions, the fear of remaining stuck out of juice appears to being overcoming all the other advantages of an EV against a gas-fuelled car.
25-03-2014. A comprehenisve report [download here] from the ILSR (Institute for Local Self-Reliance) highlights the way distributed storage, microgrids and renewable generation can operate hand-in-hand to the benfit of customers, grid-utilities and the environment. Worth the downloading.
Microgrids are bound to become a considerable element in the energy landscape across the world. Microgrids have been historically implemeted to power up remote sites and manage isolated grids or as a robust back-up generation source for mission-critical users. However the benefits from microgrids in the current energy landscape – as reported by a variety of pilot and commercial projects – have promptend big players to enter the market. In an interesting webinar from Greentechmedia [here the pdf with slides show (12 Mb)] the Microgrid landscape and its operational benefits are discussed by experts.
USA | The US Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) won a 150 M$ grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) targeting the research for batteries 5x denser in energy per kg and 5x cheaper than the current Li-ion batteries. And this by 2017. They must be sure that in the storage tech the rush for efficiency is all a matter of testing, which is the costly side of research. There are different storage technologies potentially suited to meet the target, but history tells us that not necessarily the early birds are the more successful. More money in the research would bring in more trials and more competition from around the world for what would be one of the biggest disruption in technology of the next years. To the benfit of the distributed generation and the off-grid systems. Read the interesting full article from Nature >>here.
When looking at the bills, people have always been focusing their attention at the reduction of the energy part, the consumption ($/kWh).
But peak power charges applied by utilities ($/kW) gave been rising by by 10+% per year over the past 5 years in the US, according to an analysis by Green Charges Network. And now it accounts for up to 50% of the bill, especially for commercial customers with high peak-hour power demand.
In that case, a storage unit might serve non just as a mean to consume peak-hours the energy that you collected at off-peak time (over the grid or from own wind or solar plants), but also to shave off the demand peaks. This way you can reduce the > 15 min peaks above the service power you have contracted – which are very expensively charged by utilities – and reduce the contracted service power altogether.
Green Charges Network claim they can even out the peaks, thus shaving a large part of those demand-charges from the bill, by coupling batteries with a smart controller fitted with stochastic data-mining sw application. They are able to offer the system on a service contract base to eliminate the upfront cost burden and to deliver pay-for-performance on demand reduction. The claim seemed convincing enough for receiving a grant from TIP Capital, an energy efficiency financing provider.
From the Rocky Mountain Institute blog. Feldheim, a small town in the corner of rural eastern Germany, 40 miles south of Berlin, may be one of the best examples of decentralized self-sufficiency. Feldheim was a communist collective farm back when Germany was still divided into East and West. Now it is a model renewable energy village putting into practice how a micro-grid can operate while generating jobs and reducing the bills.
Thanks to a joint venture between the town and a local renewable energy investor (Energiequelle Gmbh) that invested in 74 MW of wind turbines and a 700 kW biogass plant, by 2009 the community was powered 100% with renewable sources from their own production. In 2010 the town residents detached from the national grid operator (E.on) and went on to become the first German city with its own independent micro-grid.
The power in excess is fed into the high-voltage grid as a regular power plant, but the energy fed into the micro-grid costs 30% less than the average electricity cost for residents in the surrounding areas.
Sure, this is possible also because the self-produced electricity is not burdened by grid costs and overheads spread among all other grid-connected consumers. However the experiment proves that a decentralised generation is not only possible but also efficient and job-creating.
Read the original post >> here.
The Tesla CEO envisions “a plant that is heavily powered by renewables, wind and solar, and that has built into it the recycling capability for old battery packs.” According to a company’s newsletter of last week, the Tesla CEO envisions “a plant that is heavily powered by renewables, wind and solar, and that has built into it the recycling capability for old battery packs.” Tesla has a gigantic 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack, effective but expensive. But now, Tesla has is launching a plan to reduce cost through mass scale. And they have the – for now – secondary output market driven by the cousin company SolarCity, which is already integrating storage into its solar residential and commercial plants. Further info → Greentech media.
Solar City program DemandLogic is campaigning the offer of free storage systems connected to residential solar plants to even the energy draw with the solar production, thus maximising the energy self-consumption. The program hits the base in tackling the uneven price increase for energy prices in the US for the last 15 years. The SolarCity program offers no upfront costs for the batteries, which account for the larger cost for storage systems (it doesn’t say about the battery chargers and system controller yet). The provider would charge the customer with a lease for 10 years. The customer benefits  from the reduced bill costs,  the reduced share of future tariff increases, and  the side-benefit of power-outages security. We would also add to that the saving of UPSs now almost all residential customers need to protect the expensive electronics we have at home.
Some top tier string inverters manufacturers are ready to market upgrades of their grid products for off-grid mode operation.
At least for some manufacturers, this should come as a board to be plugged-in inside the case without the need to unload the inverter from the site. This is very good news, for the upgrade is rumored to come at a very low cost compared to existing island-mode inverters. The upgrades would be marketed as soon as the regulation about off-grid mode solar plants was defined in high prospect markets, like Italy.
The SMA Sunny Island 6.0H, for instance, comes a price tag around € 3.000,00 VAT excl. for installers. The product is specifically designed for off-grid applications and hosts lots of features like up-scaling flexibility, many custom configuration options and communication management. But for small residential plants who just look to increase their self-consumption amount the product is too much in terms of features and cost.
“.. clearly a growing interest from large, off grid power consumers..”
Those are the words from Juwi Solar Head of Asia-Pacific division discussing about the Australian energy landscape after the company entered the promising off-grid market there (23-01-2014). Off-grid applications and storage systems are definitely bound to be a significant piece of the puzzle in the energy scenario in many world areas with high solar yelds.
Read full post from -> Renew Economy.