Increasing the number of solar car park installations in the UK will not only help achieve net zero targets by 2050, it will also provide an optimised EV charging infrastructure solution, ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. The UK could take advantage of its thousands of car parks and use those to charge electric cars. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1796674/electric-cars-driving-change-habits
It is time we stop asking how many rapid and ultra rapid EV charge points are required across the UK’s transport network and focus instead on how to best service the needs of EV drivers.
There isn’t a lack of power in the UK, there’s a lack of understanding about EVs and when it comes to EV charging, we need a fundamental shift in the decades old habits of drivers – they need to switch from stopping to charge (fill-up), to charging when they stop.
Most vehicles spend around 95% of their time parked – this is when they should be charged.
We would never claim that EV charge points are fitted as a box-ticking exercise, but the fashionable ‘up to 7kW’ infrastructure installed on many city streets frequently fails to meet users’ needs and expectations. When dwell times are long, 7kW charging is sufficient, delivering a range of 25 to 30 miles for every hour of charge. However, the commonly installed infrastructure only offers ‘up to 7kW’. In other words, frequently less.
Very few of us drive over 250 miles a day, the average range of an EV, so most journeys shouldn’t require an inconvenient stop to refuel at a high priced, carbon intensive rapid or ultra-rapid EV charge point, where we are encouraged to buy an overpriced coffee, sandwich or bottle of water whilst we wait.
For those who are fortunate enough to be able to, charging an EV at home will usually be the lowest cost, lowest carbon way to do it. However, around 50% of us don’t have that option. If we live in a flat, a terraced house or in rented accommodation, we simply can’t charge at home.
Workplace and destination charging in a solar car park is therefore the next-best option. It also ensures that drivers are using renewable energy, the lowest carbon content electricity to charge as well. Increasing the number of solar car park installations in the UK will not only help achieve net zero targets by 2050, it will also provide an optimised EV charging infrastructure solution, ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles.
The UK should be inspired by France’s commitment to install solar panels on all car parks with more than 80 spaces by 2027. This is a bold commitment to a sustainable future, and we would urge all European leaders to follow in President Macron’s footsteps. The UK has around 30,000 car parks with some 13 million parking spaces across a range of locations, including shopping centres, train stations, offices, sports venues and factories. Of course, not all parking spaces can be covered by a solar canopy, but even if just 20% were converted to solar car parks, annual solar generation would be around seven Terawatt hours of electricity, sufficient to replace the UK’s remaining coal fired power stations. Increasing that to 50% would replace oil fired stations as well.
3ti is the UK’s leading designer, installer, funder and operator of Solar Car Parks (SCPs), integrating local mains electricity with solar power, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) and EV charge points. We provide secure, consistent, clean solar energy for businesses whilst simultaneously providing low carbon, fast EV charging infrastructure for workplace and destination charging.
3ti is passionate about renewable energy and believes that providing low carbon EV charging infrastructure is the key to decarbonising the transport sector.
Solar energy from car parks is a low cost, low carbon and innovative way to power buildings and EV charge points, enabling customers to generate their own renewable energy and work towards achieving net zero emissions.
The 3ti team is responsible for the two largest SCPs in the UK, at Bentley Motors, Crewe and JP Morgan Chase, Bournemouth, is working on multi-site projects for the Ministry of Defence and has already installed over 9.57MW of solar PV across circa 2,500 parking spaces around the country.