Impact of Micro Solargrid and Localgrid on Electro-Mobility Industry Energy Usage

Impact of Micro Solargrid and Localgrid on Electro-Mobility Industry Energy Usage

Avishek K. Mohanty
Visiting Research Fellow, IISD
Head, IISD Center of Excellence in Electromobility
International Electromobility Expert, Sweden

Smart electricity grids along with usage of electromobility plays a key role in balancing energy use and creating new services, to ensure low carbon economy for our urban and rural habitats. But it is not just about technology - it's also about getting people to use the systems properly.

According to world economic forum by 2030, India is likely to move from being an economy led by the bottom of the pyramid, to one led by the middle class. Nearly 80% of households in 2030 may endup in middle-income group and about 50% of today and this middle class may drive 75% of consumer spending. So, the usage of mobility may increase approximately 50% as compared today. In order to meet the future energy demand and emission, electric vehicles represent an important step towards the transition to low-carbon urban and rural mobility. However, charging EVs increases the energy consumption in real time. Due to the high current required and depending on when and where the EVs are connected, the charging stations cause problems and constraints for the power grid. So there should be a smart microgrid with electromobility technology solution could be adopted for India market.

India has a great potential of most robust microgrid markets for off-grid and grid-connected systems solution to achieving 175GW renewable by 2022. The microgrids in India are deployed to fill in for an unreliable utility grid, reach new off-grid customers, save money, and reduce carbon emissions. Indians who could afford it have long used diesel generators to backup the utility grid, but are increasingly moving to microgrid options consisting of PV, and energy storage.In Karnataka, the SELCO Foundation has deployed solar-storage remote microgrids to provide energy access in Baikampady Mangalore, Neelakantarayanagaddi Village, Mendare Village, Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya.The village of Dharnaiand Greenpeace has gone beyond activism to solar microgrid deployment.Besides the Indian Coast Guard operates a microgrid in Andaman Island.

India's dedicated electric vehicle targets should also contribute to microgrid growth as homes, campuses and companies seek to ensure adequate electric supply to meet surging demand. The car batteries themselves can play a significant role in microgrid systems, storing solar energy for when it's needed. The Indian government is planning on offering a 'EV as a Service' financial model to all citizens, putting the government in a position to possibly utilize EV batteries as a grid resource to meet national renewable targets;

In India nearly 70% are motorised two-wheelers. Besides, average trip lengths are small compared to the developed regions of the world. A large share of trips only involves walking and cycling. The fact that the Indian consumer is very cost conscious, the high ambient temperatures and low Indian driving speeds as compared to other countries, are other unique features that must be kept in mind while designing a transition strategy. India needs to focus on putting up strategy,the microgrid can be designed in such a way that it fulfils the daily transport solution. A distance of 100 km is the upper limit of the typical daily driving range for two-wheelers in India that requires a battery pack of around 2.5 KWh, which is equivalent to three 250W solar panel and 4 hours of charging can generate this amount of energy. This could be a best business model solution for the microgridor local grid to integrate with electromobility and tariff management solution as shown in "picture 3(b)";

Picture 3, a) Smart portable charger can be used charging electric vehicles just plugging at home or public places, b) A microgrid can integrate electromobility solution into the existing local distribution grid without having to expand the grid

Countries like USA, France,Germany, Netherlands ,Bangladesh, China and Nordic countries have successfully demonstrated that the micro grid and local grid can connect neighbourhood to a localized energy network that operates independently of the mains supply, to share local energy between households and it can be designed as Island to be able to switch off/on from main grid. The grid communities are decentralized,owned, and run by each village or neighbourhood, which will be benefitted by increase in their income thereby easily being part of theelectromobility mission.

In Bangladesh-based MESOL share set up aPeer-to-Peer energy trading in a Microgrid "swarm electrification," pilot project that let residents in Shakimali Matborkandi, a village in the Shariatpur district, trade solar energy among themselves as shown in "picture 1". To purchase electricity, people add credit to their mobile wallet and switch their SOLbox to "buy" mode-power that is captured by existing solar home systems that can be transferred from one household's black box to another in exchange for credit via a direct current. Some households may use less power than others because they have fewer family members and appliancesor perhaps are just more conservative about their electricity usage. Those who want to give away excess power can switch their black box to "sell mode."

Also, similar concept has been trials of energy trading based on the Peer-to-Peer energy trading in a microgrid for exampleisland of Aruba in Netherlandsand integrates renewable energyand microgrid to meet the energy demand;

The Solar Village in Freiburg, Germany with Plus-Energy homes, the citythat prducesfour timesmore energythan itconsumes;" picture2(a)". As shown in" picture2(b)" the project is the Siemens campus microgrid, which is currently taking shape at the campus of Siemens Austria in Vienna following a successful business-case analysis. The first elements of what will - in summer of 2020 - become a smart system to optimize energy management and heating requirements on the company premises have been under construction since the fall of 2019. A smart microgrid controller centrally orchestrates the connected assets and optimizes the power supply to take account of peak loads and grid capacity utilization. This showcase from Siemens Austria also illustrates how a microgrid can help integrate electromobility in the existing local distribution grid without having to expand the grid.

Picture 2, (a)Solar Village in Freiburg, Germany with Plus-Energy Homes, (b) A corporate headquarters opens in the northern part of Vienna that sets new standards in energy efficiency and sustainability

The charging is key area to addresselectromobility solution. The local electrical microgrid integrated into the charging stations solutions can be adopt. Within this context, based on photovoltaic (PV) sources, the charging stations microgrid based work in producer-consumer mode while achieving the requirements of the public grid and focusing primarily on self-consumption.In India there are several usages of the bike and monowheels vehicle. TheSwedish tech company Faabcharge AB has developed the smart and simple portable charger with converter , inverter and adjustable DC-DC solution to be the best fit for microgrid to adopt portable charger where customer can carry and charge in multiple electromobility and fulfil day to day life mobility as shown in "picture 3"(a).There are two categories of EVs: four-wheels vehicles,two and monowheels vehicles (e.g. motorcycles, scooters, assisted bicycles, scooters, gyropods, autonomous mono-wheels, etc.)that could address mobility solutionfor individual urbanand ruralconsumption will help for decentralize micro-local grid.

To manage optimized power flows the following strategiescan be approached such as Vehicle to Grid (V2G), discharge of EVs batteries into the public grid; Vehicle to house (V2B), discharge of EVs batteries into house when there is an urgent need. The V2G strategy allows the peak ofconsumption to be smoothed at the local grid level, while V2H leads to the securing of the building supply during an electrical cut-off.Specific studies are ongoing on bi-directional energy flow in countries likeGermany, Spain, Denmark,France and Brazil.

The EVs implantation is a complex task related to urban planning requiring the simultaneous integration of technical and technological parameters connection to the power grid, renewable energies integration, adaptability of the charging terminal to different types of EVs.However, to enable electric vehicles to penetrate on a large scale, smartand innovative charging solutions are required. As stated above "picture 2 (b" Siemens Austria has showcased a microgrid can integrate electromobility in the existing local distribution grid without having to expand the grid. So, India can adopt such technologies and build small microgrid business or office buildings to integrate smart electromobility charging solution without expanding the grid to meet energy demand for mobility. India can create smart local grid to share local energy between households by adopting the Island architecturesimilar to Bangladesh, which should able to on/off from main grid based on energy demand and sell.The states like Odisha,Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are always natural disaster-prone and in case of central grid it takes many days to bring back to live or provide power to the homes after cyclone or disaster. In thesecases, micro grid or local grid can be quicker toprovide power w.r.t central grid. As shown in "picture 3 (b" all the electromobility is needed in the DC, so the micro or local grid can be designed to provide in DC to charge all type of EVs architectures. So, there will be fewer power losses in power conversion during power supply. The majority of electric two-wheeler owners tend to charge at home. Hence, a policy towards establishing residential charging facilities with solar DC grid would be beneficial, especially in large residential buildings like apartment complexes, thereby having a positive impact on adoption and utilization.Electric vehicles like mono, two , three or four wheels will operate in different DC voltage rangeto charge the batteries and the same time solar micro grid can supply in DC.As we need to charge our batteries in DC, we can design standalone smart DC-DC converter and integrate into the microgrid. Thusmulti EV's can charge different voltage range from microgridor elsethe similar solution can be integrate into the charger and that can charge different voltage range as developed by Faabcharge AB, Sweden. As the Indian consumer is very cost conscious, the high ambient temperatures and low Indian driving speeds as compared to other countries, two wheelers electric motor, inverter or charging devices architecture and design could be adopted using higher efficient switching Mosfet semiconductor technologies like GaN (Gallium Nitrite) and Sic(Silicon carbide). As stated above the two wheelers in India need to drive slower, soinnovative electric motor design can yield high efficiency drivingcycles. As shown in "picture 3,(a)" solution has been developed in Sweden and this technology could be adopted by India, smart way to design higher efficiency portable charger, which can be charge vehicle directly in DC to any Li-ion based battery. Also, the same multipurpose charger can be used for three-wheeler, CAR, electric cycle, and motor bike etc. In India presently we use backup battery and inverter to mitigate the power cutoff, instead adopting bi-directional charging or V2G technologies for three-wheeler, CAR batteries could yield power for short time when there is an urgent need thus replacing the home storage batteries. Instead of buying inverter portable smart charger can be used to power up the home or directly use from DC solar grid.

In near future getting charging place in noon time would be a bigger challenge in big cities, so developmentin digital systems are under way that can control and distribute available electrical power in real time, for example, depending on how much each driver is prepared to pay and how fast the car needs to be fully charged for departure. To match supplychain and demand against each other, smart systems are required to be developed. When the electricity grid is heavily loaded by high-priority electrical components, the charging of certain electric vehicles could be postponed to a later date or even stored energy in the car batteries could be used as a gain or backup for the electricity grid.

The Author is a Visiting Research Fellow at Indian Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD), New Delhi, and leads IISD's Center of Excellence in Sustainable Electro-Mobility.