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Why We’re Excited About Enphase Bidirectional EV Charging

At Exact Solar, we’re always nerding out behind the scenes about the latest solar tech. 

One of the latest pieces of tech that we’re excited to start deploying is bidirectional charging. We briefly mentioned it in our Earth Week article, and today, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into what bidirectional charging is and what it may look like for you going forward. 

Bidirectional charging is one of the most exciting developments in renewable technology. 

Essentially, bidirectional charging means the energy flowing from your home to your EV can reverse course during a power outage. Imagine a storm knocking out the lights — your vehicle, acting as your house’s battery, ensures you’re not left in the dark. 

Enphase, known for developing and deploying high-quality solar system inverters, battery energy storage, and EV chargers, plans to deploy their bidirectional chargers in 2025

How Bidirectional Charging Helps the Power Grid 

Last year, the U.S. solar industry installed 32.4 gigawatts of direct current (GWdc) of solar capacity, a 51% increase over the year before. That’s enough to power 28,382,400 homes for an entire year (based on an average use of 10,000 kWh/year per household). 

All that power comes from clean, zero-emission solar panels. It’s just in time, too. The EIA is projecting that the U.S. will consume record amounts of energy in the coming years as homes and businesses switch to electricity for heating and power instead of fossil fuels, and more EVs come online. 

The problem with renewable energy is that it can be unpredictable. Sometimes your system creates more power than your home uses, and sometimes you do have to pull in from the grid.

With so much renewable energy coming onto the grid, we must solve the storage problem. Because renewable sources produce power unpredictably, we must have a way to store some of the excess renewable energy and deploy it when it’s most needed. 

Bidirectional charging can help us store some excess power in EVs already in use and deploy it when we need it most. How cool is that? 

Homeowners who “went solar” have collectively invested in more than three million subsidiary power stations by putting solar on their roofs. We’ve also invested in 3.3 million EVs as a country. Isn’t it time we put these puzzle pieces together? 

Bidirectional Charging for Homeowners

On the residential scale, if homeowners have a grid-tied solar system without battery storage, their power shuts off during an outage, just like everyone else’s. If battery backup is installed, they can mitigate this risk and keep their lights on. 

Battery technology has come a long way. But it has two distinct problems: 

1.     Understanding why you might need battery storage and/or how many batteries and what type of batteries you need to power critical loads in your home is a bit complicated.

2.    Batteries can wear out faster than solar systems depending on the number of cycles run (charge and discharge).

Although bidirectional charging is going to be very popular, when determining an Energy Storage solution for your home, you will need to consider a couple of factors before relying totally on your car for battery backup. If your car is not in the driveway, you can’t power your home with it. So when designing your solution, consider having some battery storage in the house to deal with the times when the car is away.

Bidirectional charging can lengthen the life of a home battery system and provide power when a home system is discharged. 

Homeowners who’ve invested in an EV already have a battery powerful enough to run their home for two days. Because an EV will wear out in 8-12 years, the homeowner will replace it anyway, so there’s no need to invest in a battery backup system that will need to be replaced before the solar system. 

So, What’s Holding This Technology Back? 

Unfortunately, the widespread deployment of bidirectional chargers is not what’s stopping us from implementing this across the country. We’re waiting on EV manufacturing. Only the newest EVs have this capability. 

As of 2023, some EVs that support bidirectional charging include:

  • Tesla Cybertruck
  • Ford F-150 Lightning 
  • Kia EV6 
  • Kia Niro 
  • Lucid Air 
  • Hyundai IONIQ 5 
  • Hyundai IONIQ 6 
  • Nissan Leaf 
  • VW ID Models 

We Trust Enphase to Deliver Something Great 

Last year, Enphase’s press release on the subject gave us an idea of what homeowners can expect from their bidirectional charger technology. 

Enphase’s chargers will support: 

  • Vehicle-to-home (V2H): This function allows the EV’s battery to share uninterrupted power with a home during an outage. 
  • Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology – Lets the EV battery share energy with the grid, giving utilities wiggle room during peak demand. 
  • Green charging – Sends solar energy directly from a solar system into the car’s battery. 

Enphase will also integrate bidirectional charging monitoring into their app, so homeowners can always see if their home is being powered by the grid or their car, and shut off bidirectional charging if their car battery is too low to support the home. 

“The new bidirectional EV charger, along with Enphase’s solar and battery storage system, can be controlled from the Enphase App, empowering homeowners to make, use, save, and sell their own power.”

-Raghu Belur, co-founder and chief products officer at Enphase Energy.

As a solar installer, we’ve found Enphase to be a reliable manufacturer of solar system components. We’re sure they’ll deliver a high-quality product next year! 

If you’d like to learn more about Enphase’s bidirectional charger plans, here are a few resources: 

  1. Enphase’s bidirectional charging press release
  2. Enphase’s bidirectional EV charging demonstration page and video

What You Can Do to Get Ready

Imagine this: you install a solar system and receive a 30% tax credit on your total cost. You start saving money with clean energy from the sun. Eventually, you take some of your power bill savings and invest in an EV. 

Once bidirectional charging technology is widely available, you buy a bidirectional EV charger. From that point on, your solar system powers your car, and your car powers your home in an emergency. 

If you can see yourself living this life down the road, then now is the time to invest in a solar system! Set up a free consultation with a solar expert from Exact Solar today to see how much you could save and prepare for the future of EVs.

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