Can Renewable Energy power EV Charging Stations in the future?

People believe that Electric Vehicles are the cleanest source of energy. Electric cars are obviously more environmentally friendly than ICE except for the manufacturing process for their batteries. Electric cars rely on regular charging from the local electricity network. The hardest truth is that the power plants providing that energy aren’t emission-free. Most of it comes from burning fossil fuels, while solar and wind together made up less amount. Now the question lies here “Can Renewable Energy power EV charging stations in the future?” for a sustainable future.

Is Electric Vehicle clean?

These are some of the trending images on the internet portraying the irony of electric vehicles. The first picture shows an EV being charged using the energy generated from fossil fuels. The electric vehicle is charged using renewable energy in the second picture.

Image: Clean Energy

All of us are aware of the pollution caused by gasoline engine vehicles that emit harmful exhausts. Hence the world has decided to look for a greener alternative and Electric vehicles barged in. Electric vehicles do not emit any harmful exhausts and therefore are clean. But the energy required for charging still comes from fossil fuels in India.

However, the world is moving into renewable energy for the generation of electricity. Electric Vehicles are clean when their source of electricity generation comes from a renewable source such as Solar, Hydro and Wind energy. India is the world’s 3rd largest consumer of electricity and is now the world’s 3rd largest renewable energy producer with 38% (136 GW out of 373 GW) of total installed energy capacity in 2020.

It is sunny Monday afternoon and you plug your EV into an outlet at home or to a charging station that is wired to the grid. Imagine your energy coming solely from the sunshine, all collected by a solar array that rotates as the sun rises and sets. It then converts the sunlight into electricity before it is sent to an enclosure with computers and other electronics that either store the power in a battery or send it directly to the car.  Accounting for which, the scope of charging stations using renewable generation method is not so far. Using renewable energy to power the EV charging infrastructure eliminates the strain on the grid and the environment simultaneously.

Solar Powered Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Access to green electricity is also becoming a reality due to the paradigm shift in the global energy generation landscape. A lot of innovations and investments are happening in this space, and specifically in the solar power generation sector. Over the past few years, many government bodies, automotive manufactures and other industry stakeholders have worked towards combining Solar and Electric Vehicle Charging. Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations is now a trending research field to make electric vehicles free from any non-renewable source. These Renewable Energy power EV Charging Stations are:

a) Stationery in the form of charge point

b) Mobile such as rooftop panels on the car.

Wind Energy to Power EV Charging Stations

The Government of India is aiming to achieve 227 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, much ahead of its target of 175 GW. The southern and western part of India from states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra produces the maximum energy from Windmills. Andhra Pradesh houses the sixth-largest installed wind power generation capacity in the country. Thus, Wind energy has become one of the most important and remarkable alternatives for the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources. The total energy generated is transferred to the grid and used as common electricity. Charging stations operating on this energy will be completely renewable and free of fossil fuels. Electric Vehicles can then be called 100% Green Energy.

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Renewable Energy powered EV Charging Stations

India overtook Japan in 2019 as the fifth largest world hydropower producer by capacity. India has close to 100 hydropower plants above 25 MW each and nine pumped storage stations.

The world is striving to bring about change in the way energy is used when climate change has reached a critical juncture.  Using renewable energy to power the EV charging station eliminates the strain on the grid and the environment simultaneously. Using clean energy to charge an EV helps support renewable energy development and reduces the carbon footprint associated with purchased electricity.

India is already on its way towards setting up renewable energy-based EV charging stations. The 16kW solar power plant was established in Shah Complex IV in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra by Magenta Power in 2019. The solar power plant and the solar-based EV charging station in the apartment cost Rs 13,00,000 only. The Solar Based EV charging station has a capacity of 3.3 kW and the apartment don’t pay a single penny for their common electricity utility and charging station. These are small baby steps towards a renewable future.

Lets us be the change and together contribute towards green future.

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