May 5, 2021 | Tim Victor

A Microgrid Designed for EV Charging

There are 3 main differences that come with a microgrid focused on EV charging: Operational Flexibility, Modularity/Load Growth, and Technology Risk. Each one of these aspects combined with the preferences of the customer has an influence on the mix of distributed energy resources that we use on site. 

For operational flexibility, we are talking about the difficulty to predict the real life charging schedule for each day. Due to a variety of factors, vehicles can show up to the depot early/late and/or need maintenance before the next day. These factors affect the planned charging schedule and can cause demand spikes to get all the vehicles charged and ready for the next day. A microgrid that takes these variances into account can provide a great amount of flexibility to a fleet operator to reduce the additional charging costs associated with irregularities to the schedule. Typically, we will design a system with a larger battery storage system or dispatchable generator that can cover these unplanned demand spikes that could occur during peak periods.

Modularity and load growth is probably the biggest tool we have to support a timely and economical transition from fossil fuels to electric vehicles. Working with the fleet operators, we will determine the cost-optimal times to deploy new vehicles at their site over their pre-planned transitional period. As new vehicles are deployed, the modularity of our design allows the system to grow over time and continue to provide maximum value and resiliency for the fleet. Through a long-term agreement, like an Energy Services Agreement (ESA), we can work with the customer to build infrastructure when it makes the most economical and logistical sense for the fleet owner. We utilize solar carport structures for most EV microgrids that can be built out in a modular fashion to match the size of the fleet. Additionally, we model, plan and install additional battery storage at the optimal times over the fleet’s transition to provide lowest cost electricity that further reduces the total cost of ownership for an EV fleet.

Considering the nascency of the Zero Emission Vehicle market, it is important to work with a partner that is willing to take on the technology risk of new energy storage and generation technologies. Through an ESA, the risk of novel technologies like hydrogen storage/generation and charging infrastructure are transferred from the customer to the provider. The microgrids designed for fleets often have synergies with many new and novel technologies and it is important to have a long term partner willing to support the system over time.

Our ecosystem of technology and service providers allow flexibility for fleet managers to choose the system that works for them. Learn more here and reach out if you’re interested in starting a conversation about your fleet electrification platform.