Platform Uses AI to Optimize EV Solar Fleet Charging
SolarEdge, a solar power infrastructure solutions developer for residential and commercial applications, has released an AI-based software platform to manage and optimize solar-powered charging operations for commercial and industrial EV fleets.
SolarEdge, a solar power infrastructure solutions provider, has a new software platform using the latest AI technologies to help manage charging operations for large fleets of commercial and industrial EVs.
Carport with solar-powered EV charging. Image used courtesy of SolarEdge
The solution will be part of the company’s expanding portfolio of products and services targeted for the commercial EV market and is designed to help with dynamic load management of solar-powered charging infrastructure at locations with large numbers of EVs–office buildings, commercial fleet facilities, carports, and apartment complexes.
The software is powered by technology from Wevo Energy, a start-up that develops artificial intelligence (AI) based software algorithms to optimize EV charging for large quantities of vehicles. Wevo’s technology will be integrated into SolarEdge’s existing solar energy management platform. Its AI-driven algorithms will help balance and optimize solar power production with battery storage and load demands for fleet-scale EV charging.
Powering EV Fleets with Solar
Solar power continues to emerge as an attractive option to augment or replace grid power for EV charging infrastructure. According to SolarEdge, as more companies electrify their fleets, they increasingly turn to solar energy to meet their EV charging needs.
In commercial EV charging applications, solar power can be harnessed from panel arrays deployed on building or carport rooftops, ground mounted, or integrated with existing charging infrastructure.
A solar power generation system consists of photovoltaic panels that convert solar energy to electricity, an energy storage battery to help with load balancing and the power conversion and delivery infrastructure that delivers rated power to loads.
For commercial and industrial applications, large fleets of EVs act as dynamic loads on the solar power system and can make managing power production, storage, and delivery quite complex.
Commercial photovoltaic array deployments. Image used courtesy of SolarEdge
Optimizing Solar-Powered EV Charging
Wevo Energy’s AI-based predictive load balancing (PLB) will be embedded into SolarEdge’s new platform and uses machine learning to monitor individual drivers' driving and charging habits over time to create predictive site load models. Factoring in solar production and dynamic electricity prices, the modeling allows for “smart" charging of fleet vehicles at just the right time, at the best price possible for efficient fleet charging operations at the lowest cost.
Industrial rooftop solar deployment. Image used courtesy of SolarEdge
For example, suppose the algorithm “learns” that certain vehicles are docked for charging by 6 PM every weekday evening and not used again until 8 AM the next morning. In that case, it can intelligently manage charge cycles to have a fully charged vehicle by 8 AM while taking advantage of lower energy rates at off-peak hours.
According to Wevo, data gathered from prior deployments shows that its PLB algorithms, or “smart charging,” can increase EV fleet charging capacity by as much as 2.5 times without increasing the peak capacity of the infrastructure.
AI-based predictive load balancing. Image used courtesy of Wevo Energy
Wevo Energy was founded in 2021 based on the observation that apartment buildings and workplaces often lacked the infrastructure needed to support multi-unit EV charging for residents and employees.
The company was formed to address this challenge, using the latest AI and machine learning technologies to develop solutions specific to the needs of large EV charging applications for apartment buildings, workplaces, and commercial fleets.
In addition to being a customer, SolarEdge is also a strategic investor in Wevo Energy.