Winemaker Joseph Evans used to have an annual electricity bill for his Barossa Valley vineyard, Ballycroft, that had risen to $6000. He then installed a rooftop solar system that powers his entire property during daylight hours, immediately removing $4000 from his annual electricity bill. He really wanted to reduce and even get rid of the remaining $2000 from his electricity bill. He has a Nissan LEAF, which is Vehicle-to-Grid capable (V2G). The Leaf is one of the few EVs in Australia that is V2G capable, along with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. He then jumped at the opportunity to have V2G incorporated in his setup at the vineyard.
V2G allows EVs to connect and interact with the grid. Modern EVs have large batteries that are rarely depleted or even drained to less than 50% for most people’s daily commutes. Bi-directional charging allows EV users to charge their vehicles using solar during the day or the grid and then discharged as needed. With solar charging and then discharging during peak periods when the electricity prices from the grid are higher, V2G can significantly lower electricity bills and improve the business case for going electric. Well, Joseph didn’t just lower his electricity bill, through his rooftop solar and his V2G setup, he now earns about $50 per week from his power exports.
“I’ve gone from a $6000 annual power bill to making around $50 per week in profit selling my excess power back to the grid,” the celebrated winemaker says. “That is more than $2500 in annual profit, from what was once a significant cost. And what’s even better is the fact that, while fuel and electricity prices are only heading in one direction — and that direction is up — my costs are fixed, and fixed at zero. Instead of paying for my power, I’m getting paid for my power.”
Ballycroft has been one of the first pilot sites approved by SA Power Networks (SAPN), which has been leading the way nationally in the installation and integration of renewable energy and distributed energy resources within its network. While securing required approvals nationally continues to be a work in progress, customers in South Australia can now apply to SAPN to install a Wallbox Quasar V2G units in the same way they otherwise would for a new home solar or battery installation. JET Charge will be opening orders to South Australian customers in late January for the next shipment of Wallbox Quasar V2G chargers.
“This is a game-changer, and I wanted to be right at the front of the queue to have V2G installed,” Joseph says. “It makes me entirely self-sufficient with my power needs, makes my home and business more sustainable, and it’s so easy to use. If your next car is going to be an EV, and it should be, make sure it has Vehicle-To-Grid technology, like the Nissan LEAF.”
Joseph is one of the first in Australia to put V2G technology to the test in a real-world setting, using charging infrastructure supplied by JET Charge and the 40 kWh battery in his 100% electric Nissan LEAF. The sustainability-driven winemaker and viticulturist at Ballycroft Vineyard and Cellars uses his Nissan for the roundtrip to Adelaide to make wine deliveries to local restaurants, before recharging through his solar panels. He then plugs his LEAF into his V2G charger, and uses the stored energy in the Nissan’s battery to power his home and property overnight, before replenishing it in the morning via solar power.
Not only does the vehicle provide enough energy for all of his living, heating and cooling needs — as well as meeting the agricultural requirements of his 10-acre vineyard — but he also feeds excess energy back into the grid, earning Joseph a rebate tariff. A simple charging application on his phone means Joseph can charge his LEAF, or discharge the power from it, at the turn of a digital dial, with his vehicle not just providing the power needed for his home and property, but also playing a crucial role in helping to stabilize Australia’s power grid. Demand for grid power fluctuates significantly, and it’s this instability in the grid that can lead to issues and blackouts.
The V2G technology in the Nissan LEAF can also provide energy to the grid to help stabilize the load in peak and off-peak periods. Ballycroft is among the first businesses in Australia to pilot V2G in a real-world setting, marking a key moment in our transition to a more sustainable future. It follows the Realising Electric Vehicle Services (REVS) project, which saw 51 Nissan LEAF EVs deployed across the ACT to trial the technology and to explore how it can support Australia’s energy infrastructure.
I really like this. I am just thinking of all the potential savings and increased energy security in countries that have weak and intermittent grids. Load-shedding which plagues South Africa and Zimbabwe come to mind. As the prices of EVs in these countries are still significantly higher than their equivalent ICE versions, this model could really help improve the value proposition of EVs in these markets.
Images courtesy of Nissan
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