Solar planning software to tap into growing electric vehicle market

Image: Valentin Software.

A new software update from Berlin-based Valentin Software will allow solar developers to take electric vehicles (EVs) into consideration when calculating energy consumption to reflect the growing buzz around EVs.

The English-language version of PV*SOL and PV*SOL premium software will be launched on 17 October through Valentin’s UK partner, The Solar Design Company.

In the new version users can select their electric car from the database. They then enter their daily mileage and PV*SOL calculates how much PV energy can be used to charge the car. The software also calculates the cost per 100 km, both with and without the use of photovoltaics.

Steffen Lindemann, managing director of Valentin Software, said: “While there is now a greater general debate about electric cars, end customers are still asking if they pay off.

“Combining an electric car with a solar unit can be a sensible solution, but that depends on a large number of parameters. PV*SOL takes these parameters into account and thus helps the plant designer to make a soundly based prediction about it.”

While EVs still only make up a small proportion of road vehicles in the UK, they are expected to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years as legislation changes to reflect growing concerns over air quality and renewable energy uptake. According to Chris Laughton, managing director of The Solar Design Company, UK solar firms are poised to take advantage of this emerging sector.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal yesterday, he said: “I think some of the more enlightened companies are going to start thinking laterally because they've been whacked about in the last year by government incentives so they're looking for what's new, what's possible.

“I believe that  those already looking for that possibility and already skilled in electrical connection matters are going to recognise that a lot of people are talking about electric cars. With so many people talking about it, some of the larger PV companies that have got a good strong electrical contractor based to them will see this as a really good thing, really interesting thing and something that they would like to start presenting to their customers, some of whom being corporates, councils - not just end users.

“I'm excited by this idea but it is linked to how many people are going to buy these electric cars and there are some big brands that are selling them so I think if hand-in-hand we see some more incentives to buy electric cars this surely makes sense. Maybe five years ago it would have been difficult to envisage this close connection but the technology has proceeded so that we can really start talking about this.”

Another feature of the new version of PV*SOL premium and PV*SOL are the expanded electricity tariff models. In future, system designers can take high and low tariffs into account when designing plants. This function is especially interesting in countries where varying tariffs, net metering and time of use tariffs are widespread.