Electric cars can do more than just transport people from A to B. They can also act as electrical storage systems. In a process known as vehicle-to-grid, energy can be stored in electric cars’ batteries and then fed back into the net in a controlled manner. It makes economic sense. If the supply of electricity exceeds demand, prices will fall. Excess solar or wind power can then be temporarily and inexpensively stored in the electric car battery while the car is plugged in at a charging station. If demand rises or the supply falls, the electricity can be fed back into the grid, helping to stabilize it while also generating a profit.
Field tests have demonstrated how grid management works with electric vehicles and photovoltaics. Researchers have developed a household energy management system that optimizes electric vehicle charging to maximize the supply of self-generated power from photovoltaic installations. The energy management system creates and monitors charging schedules that take into account yield forecasts for photovoltaic installations as well as the households’ power load.
Researchers are ultimately seeking to develop smart control systems for the distribution grid which can be used to both calculate and actively influence the effects of coincident demand in networked charging infrastructures. Based on customer requirements (energy demand, charging power, timeframe for the charging process) as well as grid data (real time or status estimates), these systems will be able to devise tailored charging schedules and send them to the charging points.