One of the benefits of powering your home with solar panels is that it’s a reliable source of electricity.
And to complement your solar power, battery back-up stores energy for when you need it.
Better yet, if you own an electric vehicle (EV), you could have another backup electricity source.
Using EV power as a back-up in an emergency is still in its early stages, but it could soon become a widespread practice.
What Are the Requirements to Use EV Power as a Backup?
If you already have an electric vehicle, you need a bi-directional charger to use as an emergency power source.
A bi-directional charger works like a regular charger.
However, its bi-directional nature means that it also works in reverse.
If the vehicle has a charge, but your home lacks power, you could connect the car to the charger to restore power to your house.
Depending on how much power you use, an electric car battery could power a home for up to 12 hours – three times longer than average power outage.
One of the first experiments in EV/home power occured in Japan in 2011after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
At the request of medical professionals, Nissan sent 66 first-generation Leaf models to power evacuation centers.
Since then, this practice has become commonplace in Japan.
Unfortunately, these bi-directional chargers are not currently available in the United States.
However, similar devices are available and others set for release.
Which Vehicles Support EV Power Backup?
As of now, only a few EV models are compatible with the bi-directional chargers on the market.
The Nissan Leaf is typically compatible and, depending on the type of charger you have, the Mitsubishi Outlander may be as well.
More vehicle manufacturers, including Ford, Kia, Hyundai, and Volkswagen, have plans to support bidirectional charging on some models soon.
What Are the Benefits of Using EV Power as an Emergency Backup?
Traditional gas- or diesel-powered generators used for backup power during an outage releasdangerous carbon emissionsus to the environment.
One of these is carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can cause death if inhaled.
Generators are also noisy to operate.
EVs do not produce emissions, such as carbon monoxide, which not only makes them better for the environment but safe to run in the garage.
Another benefit of EV power is that it can relieve stress on the power grid during peak demand by adding power back.
This helps prevent outages, and you may also be able to make some money by selling the electricity back to the power company.
Find out more about how EV power and solar work together to benefit all!