Mike Smyth, Energy4Al, Wey VAlley Solar, Schools Energy Coop, 100 solar installations

A special solar centenary

Here at Joju Solar, one of the things we believe in is the power of community energy, and we’ve worked closely with Mike Smyth for many years to install some pioneering community energy projects for schools (and other similar buildings) across the country.

 

Mike is the former Chair of Friends of the Earth Trust and the current Chair at Energy 4 All, The Schools Energy Co-operative and Wey Valley Solar Schools Energy Co-operative, and he’s always been passionate about environmental matters.

 

Last year, we completed our 100th project with Mike, and it was a special one… installing solar panels on the cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral. We couldn’t let this pass without catching up with him to talk about the landmark, Mike’s background and his hopes for community energy in the future.

 

So, grab yourself a cuppa, take ten minutes and listen to Mike’s story and his feelings about reaching 100… installs, of course!

 

 

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KIngston, Sure Charge, TfL, GULCS, Lamp post charger, City EV, FM Conway

Lighting up London with Lamp Post EV Charge Points

Joju Charging has won the contract under the TfL GULCS framework (Go Ultra Low City Scheme) with the Royal Borough of Kingston, to provide 100 street light charge points for local Kingston residents. The charge points will be installed on existing lamp posts during February and March and will help people make the switch to EV, as residents without access to off street parking will soon be able to park on the street near their homes, plug their electric vehicle into a charge point on a street light and charge away!

 

The project will be delivered in partnership with FM Conway, rolling out the SureCharge network using CityEV charge points. SureCharge is set to be the fastest growing network in London and one of the largest too. FM Conway has been operating in essential infrastructure for almost 60 years, so it’s a perfect partnership for us here at Joju Charging.

 

As our Technical Director, Dr Chris Jardine, commented:

 

“40% of households don’t have a driveway, and this rises to around 80% in some of our major towns and cities, so the need for on-street charging to make the transition to electric vehicles is clear. Joju Charging is excited to be helping councils provide EV charge points on street lights for their residents, offering councils an affordable infrastructure for change and we’re looking forward to delivering an increasing number in the future, in partnership with FM Conway”.

Royal Borough of Kingston, EV chargers, EV charge point, lamp post, Joju Charging, James Everley

Street light charging is an attractive solution for councils looking to increase opportunities for residents to switch to EV. It uses what’s already there – an existing power source and lamp post, which means it’s low cost, there’s no additional clutter, no need for planning permission and signage can also neatly feature on the street light column. Typically, street lights are located at the front of footpaths close to where residents want to charge, and installation can be carried out quickly too.

 

Watch this space in the new year, for more news on our street light charging progress – and if you’re a council who would like to explore street light charging solutions, please do contact us. We’ve got a range of funding options, including fully funded solutions, and would love to chat further about how we can help you lead the EV charge for your residents.

City EV, lamp post EV charger, SureCharge, car charging, Joju Charging

 

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Solar And Storage LIVE, Contractor of the Year, 2020, Winner, Award

Joju Solar does the Double

Joju Solar has won ‘Contractor of the Year’ at the prestigious Solar & Storage LIVE awards, to add to the ‘EV Charge point Contractor of the Year’ title secured at the EVIEs last month.

The winners were announced on Friday, at the close of a three-day online conference and the awards now put Joju at the top of the pile across all their product offerings – solar PV, battery storage and EV charging infrastructure.

“Winning the Solar & Storage LIVE Contractor of the Year has been a long-held ambition and it feels amazing”, said Joju Solar Co-founder and Technical Director, Dr Chris Jardine.

“We’ve been working in the low carbon technology space for 14 years and this recognition is testament to the hard work put in by our team over that entire period – continually improving both technically and in terms of the service we offer.”

Joju Solar were recognised for their work on helping hundreds of homes reduce their carbon footprint, through solar, storage and EV charging.  Additionally, it has been an intensive year delivering community energy projects.  We installed 2MW of solar PV for Egni Coop in Wales, including the largest solar roof in Wales, at Newport’s Geraint Thomas Velodrome.  This project won the Community Energy Award at the Solar and Storage LIVE awards in its own right.  Other highlights in 2020 include a 39kW community-owned solar PV array on the roof of Salisbury Cathedral.

Joju is also working with more than 80 councils nationwide to install EV charge point infrastructure, simplifying the process and allowing councils to deploy charging infrastructure across their region without spending a penny.

“It’s very pleasing to be recognised across all our product offerings as offering excellent service in what we do.” said Chris.  “But this is still very much the beginning – the climate crisis hasn’t gone away; we still need lots more renewable capacity; and a complete electric transport revolution needs to happen in the next decade.  That’s always been our mission”

Octopus Energy Launch the Tesla Energy Plan

Electricity utility Octopus Energy have teamed up with Tesla to offer the Tesla Energy Plan – a unique electricity specifically for Tesla Powerwall owners.  By allowing Tesla to control the operation of the battery, householders can access both the best import prices available on the market as well as the highest prices for exported electricity.

What are the Tesla Energy Plan Tariffs?

There are two versions of the Tesla Energy Plan, depending on whether you also own a Tesla vehicle.

For households with a Tesla Powerwall, electricity costs 11p/kWh to import, and Octopus will pay you 11p/kWh for your exported electricity.

For households with a Tesla Powerwall and a Tesla vehicle, electricity costs just 8p/kWh.  Octopus pay for exported electricity at 8p/kWh.

There is no daily standing charge on the Tesla Energy tariff.

For comparison, a typical conventional electricity tariff would cost 15p/kWh for imported electricity, plus standing charges.  The amount paid for exported electricity depends on the amount offered by your supplier under the terms of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).  The highest rate on the market is 5.5p/kWh, with many suppliers offering much less than this.

 

 Who is eligible for the Tesla Energy Plan?

Several criteria need to be met to sign up for the Tesla Energy Plan.

  • You must be a residential customer – this is not a tariff for commercial sites.
  • You must have solar panels and a Tesla Powerwall2.
  • That’s all you need to qualify for the 11p/kWh tariff.
  • To qualify for the 8p/kWh tariff, you must have solar panels and a Tesla Powerwall2, a Tesla vehicle, and a home EV charger.

 

How do they do this?

Home battery owners typically store electricity generated by their solar panels and use this energy through the evening and night-time.  There is a strong incentive for householders to do this – they are better off not importing electricity at 15p/kWh than exporting it for just 5p/kWh.

This incentivises households to be self-sufficient in their operation.  However, there are wider electricity system benefits from battery storage.  Operating a home battery for the service of the broader system can offer further financial benefits to the householder – and this is what the Tesla Energy Plan does.

The scheme creates value in three different ways:

  • Electricity prices vary on the wholesale market vary, so Octopus can buy the cheapest renewable electricity available and use it to charge up batteries.
  • They can also control when electricity might be discharged from batteries back to the grid, and do this at peak times when providing electricity is most valuable.
  • By aggregating many batteries together nationwide, charging and discharging batteries can also be paid for providing grid services. These services help keep the national and local electricity grids running optimally.  Sevices include helping maintain a precise frequency on the grid or providing a short burst of power in the event of a failure elsewhere on the system.

Tesla control the operation of their fleet of batteries nationwide to behave as if t were one large generator – this is called a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).  Tesla controls the operation of the batteries – when they charge and discharge.  Octopus manages the financial side of this – customer liaison and billing.

By optimising in this way, Octopus can bundle everything together into a very attractive flat-rate tariff.

The real cleverness in the tariff is paying equal amounts for imported and exported electricity.  This ‘net-metering’ approach means there is no financial penalty to the householder no matter what the battery is doing.  Export electricity back to the grid? You get 11p/kWh.  Hold on to your electricity for use later?  You save 11p/kWh from not importing.  This gives Tesla complete flexibility in how they choose to operate the battery, whilst simultaneously providing the householder with a great deal on their bills.  Genius.

 

Is the Tesla Energy Plan a good deal?

Our residential project manager, Neil Russel, has been crunching the numbers on this!  Neil has modelled the expected annual electricity bills from a range of different electricity tariffs to see which ones offer the greatest benefits.

For more background, do check out our guide to electricity tariffs for the renewable home where we take a broad survey of tariffs for green electricity supply, and for integrating with battery storage and electric vehicles.

 

Tesla Energy Plan Modelled Annual Bill

When comparing the annual cost of electricity between the Tesla Energy tariff, Octopus Go and some other tariffs offered by competing companies we get the interesting table below. This simulation assumes an average electricity usage of 3,400 kWh a year in a home with a Powerwall and no Solar PV array.

ctopus Go, Tesla Energy Tariff, EdF, eon,

The Octopus Go tariff is a day/night tariff, offering electricity at 5p/kWh between 00:30 and 4:30 and  14p/kWh at other times.  Export payments would be under the terms of the Smart Export Guarantee.  The cheap night rate that Octopus Go offers allows a significant reduction in bills.  The Powerwall can charge from the lower night rate, to be used later in the day when electricity prices are higher.

The Tesla Energy Plan, even in the instances when the client has no solar, still comes out cheaper than most of the competition.  This is due to the lack of standing charge and a cheap 11p/kWh import tariff.

Octopus Go Tariff vs the Tesla Energy Plan

Octopus is offering two generous tariffs for battery and EV owners in the form of Octopus Go and the Tesla Energy Plan.  But which one provides households with the greatest savings?

The table below compares both tariffs, depending on the amount of electricity consumed and produced in the home. Positives values (blue) represent the financial benefits where the Octopus Go tariff is beneficial.  Negative values (orange) represent the bill savings where the Tesla Energy tariff is a better option.

From this table, we can draw four different scenarios for customers with a Powerwall and solar PV.

  • Zone A – If you produce more than you use – that is to say your house is a net exporter – then you will benefit most from the Tesla Energy Plan due to the 11p/kWh export tariff.
  • Zone B – If you are consuming somewhat more than you produce, then Octopus Go is your best bet. Here the electricity stored in the Tesla Powerwall covers the costlier evening electricity, with remaining import being dominated by the 5p night time tariff on Octopus Go.  This is likely to be the case for most EV drivers.
  • Zone C – If you have both high generation and high load, the Tesla Powerwall does not fully cover the evening load. This means the 11p evening import price on Tesla Energy Tariff is a better deal than the 14p/kWh on Octopus Go.  In this case, a second Powerall would be beneficial, and this would favour Octopus Go again.
  • Zone D – If you consume much more than you generate. Once again, the Tesla Powerwall does not cover the evening load, so the 11p import price on Tesla Energy Tariff is a better deal than the 14p/kWh on Octopus Go.  It has to be said though, such extremes of high use and low generation are pretty unlikely in the real world.

Concluding Thoughts

Choosing the right tariff to optimise the financial benefits you receive from your battery storage or electric vehicle is tricky.  But Octopus appear to have two market-leading tariffs from which to choose.

The Tesla Energy Plan is a significant development for battery storage for the next decade.  It extends the benefit of storage by interacting with the broader electricity system.  When it’s windy, your battery will be soaking up all that renewable power, not just what’s coming from your own roof.  And that will help us get even more renewables onto the electricity grid.  And it’s all possible because of the equal prices paid for imported and exported electricity – which seems a little thing, but it is going to have a huge impact.

Further Reading

EVIEs Awards, Winners, 2020

Joju Charging win at the EVIEs Awards

It was a night to celebrate for Joju as our work was recognised with two prizes at the prestigious EVIEs Awards.

The EVIEs are the leading UK industry awards for those involved in the electric vehicle industry, and their remit is to “shine a light on innovation and excellence in the emerging EV sector”.  The awards reflect on the achievements of those companies and institutions engaged in delivering the electric vehicle transition.

The panel awarded Joju Charging the prize for “Contractor of the Year” in recognition of our work designing and installing EV charge point schemes for the Public Sector, homes and workplaces.  Joju’s Commercial Director, Joe Michaels said “We’re delighted to have received this award … it is a testament to the hard work put in by the team, and the partnerships we have developed with councils and charge point manufacturers.  We decided to start offering EV charge just over three years ago, and we are now delivering many hundreds of quality charge point installations each year.”

EVIES Awards, Installer of the Year, prize

The prize for “Public Sector Infrastructure Strategy of the Year” was awarded for the Central Southern Regional Framework – run by Hampshire County Council in partnership with Joju Charging as the installation partner.  Hampshire established the framework to deliver a coherent charging solution for public sector bodies across the south of England.  We are now engaged with 64 public sector bodies in the Framework region and have completed 400 charge points under major programmes for:

  • Surrey Police
  • Southampton City Council
  • Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
  • Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Chichester District Council
  • Sussex Police
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Southampton University
  • Southampton Solent University
  • Test Valley District Council
  • New Forest District Council

The Framework also features an innovative fully-funded option, developed by Joju, which enables councils to install charge points at zero cost.

All in all, it’s been a great team effort and, naturally,  we’re all enjoying being recognised by the EVIE Awards.  But Joe is keen to stress we’re not finished there. “To be recognised as industry-leading installers in such a short time is a great achievement.  But the EV transition is just at the very early stages, and there is a huge amount still be done to electrify transport over the next decade.  That’s our mission”.

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