Electric vehicles could reduce carbon emissions without straining electricity grid using solar photovoltaic charging systems

Increased Global emissions resulted in stronger efforts to reduce emissions in order to stabilise the global warming benchmark at 1.5°C. This means that in order to meet the 2030 emissions targets, G20 countries will have to maximise their efforts in 2020 and “and significantly bolster mitigation, adaptation, and finance measures over the next decade”.

In light of the above and closer to home, it has been noted that South Africa has the highest emission intensity in the G20 group of industrialised and developing countries. For the country to meet reach its global warming target, it will have to reduce emissions by 32% in the next 10 years. However, the country’s inconsistent contribution is driven by coal-dependent and crisis-riddled national electricity utility, Eskom, which is compromising South Africa’s commitment to slow global warming.

Globally, electric vehicles have been considered a way to reduce emissions. However, only approximately 1 000 of the vehicles on South Africa’s roads are electric and although growth is expected, these vehicles will still depend on electricity generated by Eskom which, in turn, will add strain to the electricity grid and increase loadshedding.

The obvious solution, in South Africa with its abundant sunshine, is solar charging using, for example, using a solar photovoltaic carport. In this context, recent research examined “the potential impact of electrification of the vehicle fleet in South Africa” and explored “the concept that large employers (or car park owners) could take advantage of the country’s abundant sunshine and provide photovoltaic (PV) solar carports for employees (or parking clients) to charge their vehicles while at work.”

This abridged post is based on the authors’, MJ (Thinus) Booysen, Mark Apperley and Kevin Buresh research paper: Three shades of green: Perspectives on at-work charging of electric vehicles using photovoltaic carports

Read the full article here and more on photovoltaic systems here.

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