Leading global solar inverter company SolarEdge has announced a shift towards electric vehicles, with a new product that will combine solar monitoring and EV charge scheduling to help homeowners maximise energy usage, and charge EVs up to four times faster.
The shift by SolarEdge into the EV space is a sign of the times, and a recognition that many of those choosing EVs over petrol and diesel vehicles also own a rooftop solar system and want to maximise the amount of solar used to charge their vehicle batteries.
Its EV charging single phase inverter – which claims to be the world’s first two-in-one EV charger and solar inverter – will be available for order in Australia for the first time this quarter.
The technology essentially allows excess solar production to be diverted for EV charging and is compatible with multiple EV connectors.
“The inverter is very much taking prime spot as brain of the energy system,” SolarEdge’s manager for Australia/New Zealand Gavin Merchant tells The Driven.
The 2-in-1 converter has a “smart mode” that monitors solar production and can be set to only charge the EV when there is solar power generation, or to mop up excess electricity not able to be fed into the grid.
Another mode can boost EV charging rates by drawing power from the solar system and drawing any extra to achieve a maximum charge rate up to four times faster than a standard Type 2 charger.
“It aggregates them both – say you have 5kW from the roof and draw in the balance from the grid so you can maximise your charge rate,” says Merchant, adding that, “You have full control over the rate of your charge.”
Scheduling using the EV-ready converter also allows drivers to ensure they don’t caught out drawing from the grid when solar power generation suddenly drops – say if a cloud passes over.
Time of use scheduling allows those who may need to charge at night to only do so during off peak times.
The new inverter is available for new systems, although Merchant says that in the future an “add-on” system may become available for those who already have rooftop solar.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.