Electric vehicles will help revolutionise solar & home energy independence: UBS

Electric vehicles and the proliferation of battery storage will solve the problem of intermittent supply for rooftop solar, and make it viable without subsidies, a new report has predicted.

The report, by investment bank UBS, says that this energy market “revolution” could arrive any time soon, giving households the ability to budget for 12 years of “free electricity” for a 20-year solar system.

UBS says the combination of EVs plus solar plus storage will deliver a payback time of 6-8 years by 2020, effectively making centralised fossil fuel generation redundant.

It says this is not understood by the utility industry or the market, because they are “not yet looking at the topics of solar, EVs and stationary batteries with a holistic view.”

The investment bank says its modelling shows that it will be the combination of the three that will make solar fully competitive, and give it the potential to disrupt the electricity sector.

“Here are the maths,” says the report: “One can leverage the EV purchase with an investment in a solar system and a stationary battery. By doing so, one can optimise the self-consumption of solar power and minimise the “excess waste” of solar electricity.

“And what also may matter to many EV buyers: The electricity used to drive the car is carbon-free. The combination of and EV + solar + battery should have a payback of 7-11 years, depending on the country-specific economics. In other words, based on a 20-year technical life of a solar system, a German buyer should receive 12 years of electricity for free (purchase in 2020).”

UBS says pure battery EVs will be competitive with internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, and in some instance may already be so.

“We think that by 2020, shrinking battery and solar cost will make EVs in the mass segments the cheaper alternative over a car life cycle in most European markets,” the report says.

“While on a global basis, EV sales for the remainder of the decade should be mostly carbon/fuel standards and related incentives, we think penetration rates will accelerate significantly after 2020 driven by compelling economics. As a conservative 2025 scenario, we think  about 10% of new car registrations in Europe will be EVs.”

Top image: Tesla Roadster, via Wikipedia

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson