Call for EV chargers to harness solar power
Micro grids would help handle demand
The growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) requires long-term planning to ensure adequate power supplies, with one idea being to build "micro grids" at charging stations, says Delta Electronics (Thailand) Plc.
The Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer suggested each charging facility should act as a micro grid which can generate electricity from sunlight, to help charging service providers and the government better plan their electricity supply. High demand for power is expected when the Thai EV market is fully developed.
Existing EV charging outlets in Thailand are connected to the state grid. Delta said they can be better equipped with solar inverters and energy storage systems, or batteries, to make them less dependent on state electricity distribution agencies.
"The state grid is already good, but more equipment added to the station will be good for future power management and clean energy campaigns," said Kittisak Ngoenngokngam, Delta's director of energy infrastructure solutions business.
With ongoing government promotion of more EV production and consumption, demand for electricity is expected to increase, making it preferable for EV charging stations to produce electricity themselves.
"Image if more than 2,000 PTT petrol stations turn into EV charging stations, how much electricity will we need?" said Mr Kittisak. He expects higher power demand from petrol stations, not to mention EV charging facilities at shopping malls, condominiums and some other venues.
This prospect may cause the government to increase power reserves in the country to ensure enough electricity supply during peak hours. Authorities can also deal with higher electricity demand by building micro grids at some EV charging facilities, Mr Kittisak said.
Solar power and energy storage systems can be used to recharge cars as a first resort. If there is not enough electricity, operators can then use power from the state grid.
This can also save electricity costs and, at the same time, support government plans to fight global warming, said Mr Kittisak.
He was speaking at the three-day Asean Sustainable Energy Week in Bangkok, which ends today.
Delta plans to demonstrate its EV charging technologies, including software to manage solar power, next year at its two factories in Samut Prakan's Bang Poo district and Chachoengsao's Bang Pakong district.
The firm also expects to complete the construction of a new factory in Bang Poo to produce electronic components for EVs.
From January to July this year, the number of newly registered battery EVs in Thailand soared by 188% year-on-year to 8,784, according to the Federation of Thai Industries, citing statistics from the Land Transport Department.
Mr Kittisak said the ongoing global semiconductor shortage will affect companies producing EVs and electronics. He expects the problem to last at least three years.
"An EV not only needs large chips, but it also requires hundreds of small chips during assembly," he said.