Dulas Forging Ahead with Solar Powered Car Charger

Dulas is embarking on a new project to install a solar powered Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station at its head office in Mid-Wales. Supported by a Welsh Government SMARTCymru* innovation voucher, the unit will be a dual-station charging solution, combining energy storage technology with solar power. 
Dulas Forging Ahead with Solar Powered Car Charger
Courtesy of Dulas

The installation will be a working test-bed for Dulas as it seeks to develop commercial solutions for harnessing renewable energy sources for EV charging, and other off grid requirements.

Electrifying road transport

Figures for March in the UK saw sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars reach 14% of the market – the highest penetration of new EV vehicles ever recorded.  The Government’s announcement last November about phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 means that there could be as many as 10 million electric cars on the roads by 2030.

Heavy road freight is also within the Government’s sights – it is estimated that around 7% of global carbon emissions are generated by heavy transportation vehicles. Electrifying road transport at scale is a huge challenge requiring significant investment and research but what is clear is that a network of ultra-fast chargers will be paramount to ensure ‘business as usual’.

Grid challenges

Dulas recognized that electrifying road transport will place huge demands on grid supply.  Grid upgrades are expensive and often require major changes to premises. By building, testing and maintaining a new onsite Battery Energy Storage Solution (BESS) using solar power, Dulas will be running a test-bed for a reliable and cost-effective charging solution that can be deployed without the expense of a grid upgrade or a change to the premises. The EV charging station would have minimal or zero requirement for back-up grid power The project will be an important proof of concept and enable Dulas to develop additional commercial solutions, both for the EV charging market but also for the remote power market, where users have difficult or weak grid connections.

Game changing solution

Nick Smith, Senior Electrical Engineer at Dulas, commented on the new project, “We are really excited to be developing solutions for the EV and renewable power market. We have a number of clients in remote or grid challenged locations where this solution could be applicable.  The particular challenge of islanding, which is basically the continuation of a power supply where electrical grid power is not present, is ensuring that the power supply is stable and non-varying. Achieving this with low-cost solar power could be a game-changer for these clients.”

Dulas is an experienced installer of BESS, one notable project being the award-winning flagship project, Gibson Mill, owned by the National Trust in West Yorkshire.  The site is 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy, generated by two hydro turbines and a solar array and stored in a large battery bank installed by Dulas.

The planned solar powered charger at Dulas HQ in Wales will be partly funded by a grant from SMARTCymru, which aims to help Welsh businesses develop, implement and commercialise new products, processes and services supporting sustainable growth.

*Dulas Ltd has benefited from financial support from the Welsh Government’s SMARTCymru program, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund in order to install a solar powered car charger at its HQ in Wales. The installation will be a test-bed for Dulas as it seeks to develop cost-effective charging solutions using renewable power.

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