How Businesses and Building Owners Can Save on Energy Costs with Smart EV Charging and Energy Management
Installing and operating EV charging stations offers businesses and owners of commercial and industrial buildings a winning proposition. EV charging itself creates a new “green” revenue opportunity. Businesses, hospitals, and universities that offer workplace EV charging can attract and retain employees, while retail districts and shopping centers can attract tenants and increase customer traffic.
Building owners can work with a charge point operator or EV service provider to install and manage the EV chargers. Or owners can install, own, and operate the chargers — and maintain control over the driver experience, pricing, revenue, and profits.
In that case, the electricity consumed by EV charging will show up on the property’s monthly bill. The good news is that smart EV charging and energy management software can control EV charging energy consumption and save on electricity bills.
What is smart EV charging and energy management?
Smart EV charging and energy management uses intelligence to ensure the safe delivery of power to EVs charging at your location without compromising the delivery of electricity to your facilities. It ensures that EVs are charged and ready to roll when drivers need them while keeping the facility lights on, the AC (or heat) running, and production producing.
When a vehicle is charging using smart charging, communication is established between the charger, the car, the charging operator’s smart EV charging and energy management platform, and also possibly the electricity provider. Smart energy management technology optimizes how power is distributed so that the right amount of energy gets to the right power consumer at the right time and at the right cost.
What are the benefits of smart EV energy management?
EVs bring a growing appetite for electricity. Some estimates suggest that on a global level, EV charging will only account for about 4% of total demand for electricity by 2030. However, that demand happens in peaks — morning peaks for workday charging, early evening peaks for residential charging, and highly volatile spikes for fast-charging stations. According to one analysis, when local EV penetration hits 25 percent, the local peak load can increase by 30 percent. Eventually, unmanaged peak loads will push local infrastructure and generation resources beyond capacity and require upgrades.
On the other hand, between peaks are periods of under-utilized capacity. Renewable energy can also be under-utilized when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, but demand is lower than supply. Utilities use incentives to shift demand from peak to non-peak times to avoid having to build new capacity, or to shift consumption to times when renewable energy is plentiful. Smart energy management allows building and facility owners’ EV charging operations to take advantage of these incentives and reduce electricity costs while still meeting the needs of drivers and facilities.
How does smart EV charging and energy management work to create cost savings?
Simply put, smart energy management is a power optimization tool or type of load balancer for EV charging infrastructures. Yet the way it works is anything but simple. It uses advanced algorithms for dynamic load balancing, automatically shift charging loads, power sources, and power distribution between EV charging and the building as needed. This enables business owners to take advantage of a range of utility incentive programs and onsite energy resources to reduce costs and still power EV charging.
Time of use pricing and peak load penalties. Electricity providers often use pricing to incentivize electricity consumers to reduce consumption at specific times. Smart energy management software automates when EVs charge to take advantage of lower costs or reduces the flow of electricity to chargers to avoid exceeding peak load levels and incurring penalties.
Demand-response programs. Through demand-response programs, utilities enroll and compensate companies willing to reduce consumption when demand is greater than available supplies of electricity. These programs can include EV charging as well as business operations such as manufacturing, industrial processes, or building cooling and heating.
Onsite renewables and storage. Companies can reduce costs by using locally generated renewable energy, typically solar, to power EV charging instead of grid electricity. This energy can also be stored in onsite batteries for use when grid energy is most expensive. Or you can store grid energy in the batteries when it is cheap and use it to meet peak needs. All of this is managed by the software, based on real-time conditions or policies.
Bidirectional charging for V2G or V2B. As vehicles are parked most of the day, using EVs as a distributed energy source — “batteries on wheels” — can minimize the strain on the power generation using smart energy management to achieve local grid balancing and potentially even selling power back to electricity power generators. With Vehicle to Grid (V2G), vehicles’ batteries provide power to the grid during times of peak demand, and the vehicles’ batteries are recharged during times of lower demand. Vehicle to Building (V2B) works the same way, only the smart energy management software directs stored energy to the building to supplement the grid or provide power during outages.
Bidirectional charging can be used anywhere parked vehicles will be spending more than a few hours. In office buildings for example, drivers can register for V2G or V2B participation, noting the time they will need the vehicle. The grid draws on the vehicle’s stored energy and then directs energy back to the vehicle to recharge the battery, so it is ready for driving when needed.
Make EV charging a 5X win with smart energy management
By offering EV charging at your commercial or industrial property, you can make employees, tenants, customers, or visitors happy (win 1). Readily available EV charging encourages EV adoption — which contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and recharging the planet (win 2). It can also help you meet your organization’s sustainability goals, including meeting LEEDS criteria for your building (win 3). You can realize a new source of revenue (win 4), increasing profitability by reducing energy costs (win 5).
Learn more about Driivz InSite for Commercial and Industrial Buildings, the smart EV charging and energy management software designed for building owners and managers.