Utility launches suite of domestic energy products to boost home energy flexibility
OVO has unveiled a suite of new products designed to boost energy flexibility in the home, including what it claims to be the world’s first widely available domestic vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric vehicle charger.
The 6kW V2G charger allows EV owners to charge up their vehicle at home, while simultaneously storing excess household power in the EV battery for use during high grid demand.
Supporters of V2G systems argue they will play a key role in boosting grid flexibility, allowing the UK to cope with the growing use of intermittent renewables and higher electricity demand from EV use.
Ovo says the charger will also help drive down household bills, allowing billpayers to store energy when it is cheap.
The charger is bolstered by a number of other products launched by the utility, including a domestic battery storage product and smart-enabled ‘Heat Dynamos’ which work alongside home electric heaters to boost the efficiency of their use.
Meanwhile, a new AI platform dubbed ‘VCharge’ will act as an overarching system for Ovo to flexibly manage smart household electricity systems. The VCharge system is designed to remotely connect smart electrical devices – such as EV chargers and battery storage – and aggregate them into a “virtual power plant” to better optimise their use and improve energy efficiency, according to OVO.
“We’re enabling thousands of EV batteries to help balance the grid in times of peak demand, more renewable energy to come onto the system, and households to reduce their electricity bills,” Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of OVO, explained. “This is the first step in building the distributed energy system of the future. One that is truly customer centric and built around households and their connected energy storage devices.”
The energy technology firm has also launched a 7kW smart EV charger enabling EV owners to charge up during peak hours, but which unlike the V2G version does not offer two-way electricity flow capability to store power on the EV battery.
The smart chargers are commercially available now, while around 1,000 home V2G chargers are being trialled over the next two years with the support of the government and Innovate UK, with a view to making them commercially available thereafter. They are initially being trialled with Nissan LEAF cars and e-NV200 vans.
Francisco Carranza, MD of Nissan Energy, said the V2G system could “solve one of the biggest challenges of integrating electric vehicles onto the grid”.
“We are also reiterating our mission to offer customers free power for their electric vehicles,” said Carranza in a statement. “V2G will change the rules of the game, making energy cheaper for everyone as we move towards decarbonising the grid. Our electric vehicles are fully ready to be plugged into the grid making the UK grid more sustainable and more stable.”