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V2G one year on ..... Summer Blog

  • 5 September 2020
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V2G one year on ..... Summer Blog
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It’s one year on since I first started on my journey with OVO and the V2G trial 

 

It started as many would as curiosity, after much deliberation I signed up, not a speedy process but these things never are, the first item was the smart meter (Smets 1) I was surprised to find out that the newer Smets 2 that should have been fitted was intact not compatible with the trial, but never mind its not at my expense !!

 

Next was a couple of pics for a site survey, I am luck I have a pretty much dedicated EV electric supply as I have 2 x 100A incoming supplies to my property lucky me !! so this stage was a breeze. 

 

Just over 3 weeks later the V2G unit was fitted, along with the Smart charger ( the best EV charger I have ever owned looks good and works great ) this was a easy enough process for the lads in my case and we were up and running in the same day, well almost !! unfortunately my first unit suffered from the red light of doom, an issue that has since been repaired in a software patch but was unavailable at the time and need a new unit ( issue with the thermal sensor ) never the less the second unit was fitted in around 1 week and we were up and running !!

 

The unit it, has performed faultlessly in all weathers,  a few outages have occurred over the time but these have been national outages with the back office in the system so not a site issue and have generally been resolved in a day. 

 

The App

 

Well if am honest its a bit dated, it was great a year ago but its looking aged, despite attempts to revamp, we ( us trialists ) have tried to help sort this out some of our ideas have been taken on board but many, like the over complex ready by timer and the fact if you have a newer iPhone with the swipe bar on the bottom that obscures the function button on the bottom of the app, have not been dealt with despite months of feed back. 

 

The Cars 

 

The first of my cars to be connected was a 2013 24 leaf with over 90% battery capacity, the car operated for some months with and actual improvement in the SOH (battery capacity) over the month then it was traded in for a 62 this was connected and then covid-19 its at this point things went hmm with regards to exports so much so it was entirely pointless having a 62 hooked up so we swapped out for the Mrs 30 and we still use this today with the 62 not being loaded on to V2G properly yet. 

 

Exports

 

It started off great the amount were huge the demand on the export was immense probably due to the time of year, we were also looking forward to unleashing the units full potential of export (this has not happened yet either we are still restricted to around 3KWA) but never the less it was financially worth hooking your car up with most trailists sign in good credit and paying for the house electric it looked like a winner and so it should be the electric companies are hiring our batteries we have paid a fortune for !! but now the summer the exports have slowed, often the 30 leaf would export fully up until march but now it  leaves much of its battery power in the car proving the demand is not there but looking to the winter I hope to once again see an increase in exports. 

 

Billing

 

This is by far the biggest issue I have with V2G, at first all was great but a few months in the emails start, you need to increase your direct debt, then all of a sudden the computer has increased it with out your say so, the stun leads to faffing about sorting it out, its corrected then a few months later its happens again and then repeat… annoying, yes OVO have admitted the V2G exports cause the billing system to error thinking your using lots of electric despite not actually looking et the credit figure, something that was getting sorted ….in `December were still waiting. 

 

The Future

 

Well like many other people I have finished my first year some are months into their second and we are eagerly awaiting to here whats on offer come renewal, solar, whole house solutions who knows? but we all know one thing OVO energy are keeping the cards close to there chests a bold move as many people on the trial will already be looking to switch providers for better EV supply deals, I know I am keeping a keen eye on offers, because the amount of energy we as EV owners buy we do have quite a lot of Tarif options like charging overnight on cheaper tariffs, but hopefully we will get a deal moving forward. 

 

What would I like to see?

 

Well full export capability would be nice to see so we can make best use of the financial side, but also I would like to see a range of supported products become available from OVO such as Solar or battery walls. 

 

I hope everyone can take a little something from this, I hope I help the project managers along with the media and people looking to join and members, it’s the future !!!


21 replies

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Thanks @D10hul what a fantastic read! I am still early on in my 1st year as the installation didnt actually complete with a working unit until after covid so just a few months, as an android user yes the app looks dated but works well and buttons here are excellently placed, could this likely be an IOS only issue (I would never recommend apple anyway)

 

Its great to hear experience of others and this future of post trial is indeed intriguing massively to myself and others. My hope is this will be paired with a time of use tarrif and will work well until at least 2025 when ccs is due to have v2g as well.

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 @D10hul wrote: I would like to see a range of supported products become available from OVO such as Solar or battery walls

Well your wish has come true!

I assume you are unaware of the Storage Battery Trial that has been running in the Woodhall Spa area for the past year? Press report here.

To be fair, this was a fairly limited trial using batteries from the German firm Sonnen. It was a response to a particular local issue highlighted by Western Power Distribution where there were constraints on the 33kV line feeding the area. This trial was effectively a “proof of concept” rather than an area-wide solution.

There is a larger OVO Storage Battery & Solar PV Trial now being advertised here. This is to use Powervault battery storage. The battery store has two direct PV solar inputs, and completely replaces the Inverter.

 

Have a look also at the first answer posted as a result of the Kaluza Ask Me Anything topic, which is about whether Variable TOU Tariff will offered for V2G users in future.

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@Transparent  the power bolt batter sounds like exactly what our village needs, the amount of power cuts we have is ridiculous, I have said it a few times but since we come online with V2G there are far less power cuts here, coincidence may be, but I have the perfect location and installation area for these devices ! Let’s see 

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If you’re even contemplating a village-wide strategy, then you’d be best by starting your research by looking at Marshfield Community Land Trust just north of Bath. They have four substations with constraints on the 11kV feeds into the village. They are one of seven community groups working within the OpenLV Project, now funded by Western Power Distribution.

You’ll need to start getting to grips with new terminology such as:

  • Aggregator: A Group that combines electricity sources and storage in their area to offer power to the Distribution Network Operator when there is a deficit and draw on electricity for storage when there is an excess.
  • Micro-grid: An electricity supply that is entirely managed by a local community group for the benefit of those within the cooperative. Owen Square in Bristol (another OpenLV site) are operating a micro-grid.

This is a massive subject and we’ll have @Tim_OVO diving in here on Monday morning and asking for more details in a new Instructables Topic!

 

Secondly I can assure you that the reduction in power cuts is extremely unlikely to be related to the miniscule amount of power you’re supplying back to just one phase in your village.

Any mains-connected devices capable of export, such as V2G chargers, Home Storage Batteries and Solar Panel Inverters are certificated only if they will disconnect themselves from the mains in the event of a power-cut.

To increase resilience against power-cuts you and your neighbours should also be investing in off-grid stored energy devices. This is a subject I’ve been experimenting with for a number of years with mixed results. It is certainly the case that homes should be running their main-room LED lighting and VDSL/WiFi router from stored energy. I have a 24v DC bus around my house to achieve this.

So you’ll need a mix of grid-connected storage and off-grid storage. There is currently no device approved for grid-connection which also offers a maintained DC output in the event of a power-cut.

On the plus side, the DNOs have been instructed by Ofgem to transform themselves into Service organisations (DSOs). They must work with communities and individuals to achieve better energy-use and reduce losses. Unless they do so, a revenue-cap called RIIO-ED1 penalises their shareholders. That’s quite a good incentive! :slight_smile:

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@Transparent, in our village I should explain a little more, its a tiny place just 30 houses, we have a very old setup that constant needs TLC its all over head power lines and they are constantly snapping, only a couple of months ago we had a Metal pole go live with 240v it didn't trip anything it was only because it burnt the grass off at the base that I noticed it, that and the rain turning to steam on it !!

We don't have 3-phase in the village its pretty crap but its just 2 lines in for in the village and thats to the transformer too. 

We have had 20 kwh of village solar installation installed around the same time I had the V2G installed, the power grid had quite a few mangers out at the time looking at the V2G and the solar in the village with crossed fingers that it would provide a little more power lol !!! they know they need to upgrade the supply to the village but its very costly and I as far as I know they are just bodging it along to keep it going. 

I don't know the true ins and outs of how it all works but I do know our village has a very fragile power system, it was up until 2018 just 2 wires spurs from the nearest main line some 3 miles away but now they have looped us 5 miles they other way with another 2 wires so we are no longer a end connection !!! I guess so like a ring main they can draw more power ?

either way I am actively looking for technology that will allow me to island as during the bleak mid winter its not unusual to have no power for days on end.  

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@Transparent  @Tim_OVO Just looking into the battery wall, great but you need to supply the solar panels, so not the best option of many really as they will certainly be better of with out it if they are on FIT payments as like with the V2G it will simply steel all your solar electric through the day rather than export it for cash and then export it 4-8 in the evening when your most likely to be using more electric so yes it might be saving you a bit of cash by not buying electric but you'll certainly not be getting any payment for generated and if like most V2G customers your paying a higher price for electric because of the tariff you need to be on, then when the unit Imports directly from the grid you'll be paying handsomely for electric,  I think it would be a better project if it was combined and supplied with solar panels, for me its not about making money with a project like battery storage, besides your getting the kit for free ( although is it worth anything at the end of the trial as who know if another party can control the system (in the case of the V2G unit it looks like it will become a very big home charger nothing more !)) 

With this unit they are on the right path to the whole house solution, and with my V2G already installed if they could combine the V2G, power wall and solar all together then its would be a fantastic first and a real show stopping press release for OVO, so I challenge them to come to my property and install the first OVO whole house solution !!!!  the gauntlet is down ……. 

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@D10hul i too want an ovo whole house solution! Race you! :)

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Ah! Thanks for the clarification @D10hul . I had read your Profile and incorrectly assumed you were referring to Consett as a “village”.

30 homes is a very good size to operate as a community Micro-grid. I think Owen Square started with around that number of households.

I haven’t previously come across a village with only single-phase (11kV?) feeding its transformer. That’s what you’d normally anticipate for a small farm. Is the transformer pole-mounted? Any idea of its capacity?

You could “do a deal” with your DNO such that they save the costs of upgrading your overhead feeds if they’ll work with you to implement a microgrid with storage. Remember, they get bonus-points for liaising with you under their RIIO-ED1 targets.

Do you have a Parish Councillor for the village? They might provide a route to tap into further funding for a feasibility study.

Did you get a name for any of the engineers from your DNO who had a look at your PV and V2G installation?

Ask them for:

  • access to the online map of their Distribution Network. (I have the map for all 4 regions managed by Western Power Distribution)
  • a copy of the file showing brown-outs and black-outs for your area over the last couple of years. That will enable you to check the stats for the issue you’re facing.

How does that sound?

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The tariff costings and rules for the PowerVault Battery Trial will be down to Anna Lewis - the same Project Manager who’s currently setting up the Low-Carbon Heating Trial in SE England. Remember she may well be reading your comments here and noting what you say about those already receiving (substantial) FIT payments.

I think we are heading in the wrong direction if the strategy is to see these Kaluza Platform controlled devices as “personal” in some way. I would be hugely disappointed if OVO tried to recruit customers into their own “whole house solution” for the advantage of the home-owner.

These technologies need to be seen as community-assets and operated to provide a better use of the local resources with lower losses.

In your village of 30 houses, I doubt that there’s enough “reverse power” capacity for a third of the houses to export back to the grid. The trick is to integrate the generation and demand into a system that is mutually beneficial.

Your DNO would most likely be quite happy approving a greater proportion of houses with PV Panels if the excess were to be automatically routed to houses with storage radiators (Dimplex Quantum) and smart immersion heaters in water cylinders. The Kaluza Platform would be key to this.

In most cases this would be difficult to arrange because you’d first need to check that the generation and the load were on the same phase. But in your village this wouldn’t be a problem. That’s why you would be an important test site which could yield useful stats prior to the development of phase-detection alorgithms.

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So I’ve done a bit more background research into your area, @D10hul.

Your DNO is Northern Powergrid. In May this year (2020) they launched a Community Energy Engagement Strategy whereby they will partner with local community groups to better utilise renewable generation, tackle  Climate Change and address social issues such as Energy Poverty. The link I’ve given takes you to a page giving the name of the scheme’s coordinator and suggesting that grants are available.

 

Secondly, I’ve just been checking out your political representation. You’re in an enviable position - a marginal constituency with an MP who’s the same political flavour as the government!

Your optimal position is to be as politically neutral as you can be. A floating voter is likely to receive a more attention than someone who’s already of an identifiable affiliation!

In your position I would be writing to your MP (email is best), informing him of your participation in the V2G Trial, and stating how important it is for the UK to embrace this innovative British technology. MPs usually receive bad news from constituents, so you’ll already have his attention with your positive message!

You then have the platform to ask for his commitment to topics which are currently being debated and for which you have a clear need. Having read what you’ve been posting here, I would expect your No.1 request would be for Ofgem to require all domestic Energy Suppliers to offer at least one Time Of Use tariff by the end of 2021.

As your MP he’ll probably forward a copy of your correspondence to BEIS for a response. Since you’ll be one of the few who will actually be able to provide an informed opinion based on direct experience, I suspect you’ll receive a favourable reply.

When you send such an email it’s best to make the letter short, but send a couple of attachments. In your case I’d suggest a photo of you standing next to the V2G Charger plugged into your Leaf, and a brief resume of the costs and number of kWh you’ve exported to the grid over the past year (PDF of a spreadsheet, perhaps?).

Apologies if you’re already way ahead of me on this, but I wanted to highlight what a strong position you’re in to achieve some of the solutions you’ve been seeking.

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@Transparent I will digest this over a couple of days and give you a reply, but the initial yes it sounds like a great idea! Get the ball rolling!!

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Brilliant blog post, @D10hul - I’ve made it into an article, added a pic and tweaked the formatting a tad. Hope that’s OK!

 

For anyone else reading this thread, make sure to check out @Mikeyoung’s similar ‘V2G one year on’ post, here

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Brilliant blog post, @D10hul - I’ve made it into an article, added a pic and tweaked the formatting a tad. Hope that’s OK!

 

For anyone else reading this thread, make sure to check out @Mikeyoung’s similar ‘V2G one year on’ post, here

Fine with me I am not a journalist, just a postmaster !! 

Userlevel 6

 @D10hul wrote: I would like to see a range of supported products become available from OVO such as Solar or battery walls

Well your wish has come true!

I assume you are unaware of the Storage Battery Trial that has been running in the Woodhall Spa area for the past year? Press report here.

To be fair, this was a fairly limited trial using batteries from the German firm Sonnen. It was a response to a particular local issue highlighted by Western Power Distribution where there were constraints on the 33kV line feeding the area. This trial was effectively a “proof of concept” rather than an area-wide solution.

There is a larger OVO Storage Battery & Solar PV Trial now being advertised here. This is to use Powervault battery storage. The battery store has two direct PV solar inputs, and completely replaces the Inverter.

 

Have a look also at the first answer posted as a result of the Kaluza Ask Me Anything topic, which is about whether Variable TOU Tariff will offered for V2G users in future.

 

@Transparent Hope you are well….nice to hear from you.

Thanks for that information on the power wall. I’ve registered my interest though don’t know if I’ll qualify already being on V2G or if my area (Northern Power) is taking part but as they say...a shy bairn get’s now’t. I’ve been looking at solar panels and power wall recently and just wondered if there were any offers on….you answered that question thanks.

Leo

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@D10hul i too want an ovo whole house solution! Race you! :)

Me too….

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@D10hul i too want an ovo whole house solution! Race you! :)

Me too….

I think a lot of people would like to take on the technology !!!

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In response to @D10hul ‘s 1 year post I’ll also give an update for 14 months….

When I had my charger installed I was one of the first 20-30 in the country and under no illusion that things would be perfect. I was one of the guinea pigs and would have to take the knocks, something I was well prepared for and had no arguments with. Chargers developed problems, software needed upgrading, internet connections, accounts etc, all encountered and all rectified….well almost. But I suspect my collective experience which included a 6 week session in the sin bin for exceeding export limits….106 times... was unique. At the end of the day with my third charger installed when the lock down allowed things have settled down and I have had 100% reliability for the last 10 weeks exporting a constant 17.7 kW every day.

However all is not perfect and the one area of contention is the accounts and billing which I would describe as “like herding cats”. Let me explain.

In order to go onto the trial I had to change contract from the 2 year combined Economy 7 Electricity/ Gas I was on to a new standard rate electricity tariff which meant the original 2 year fixed rate Gas tariff remained the same but a new 2 year Electricity tariff was applied. Now  both contracts for Gas and Electricity were running a year apart with the Electricity expiring in July 2021 but the gas expiring in July 2020. I then had to negotiate a new contract for the gas which now expires in 2022….and is a different rate.

The problems began with the way the calculations were worked out. OVO and Kaluza both ran separate databases and though I could see how much electricity and gas I was using by the hour every day with the Kaluza App I had to wait till the following month to work out how much I was being billed by OVO. On top of that the V2G credit was paid a month in arrears….but the bill dates didn’t coincide with the credit dates so they appeared the following OVO bill or 2 months later...I think. I have never been able to work it out.

Some of the problem was alleviated when OVO introduced a new system which told me how much gas and electricity I was using every 30 minutes and how much was being charged, credited and deducted from my account on a daily basis. It was brilliant. I knew exactly where I stood financially and kept everything intact….But the spanner was thrown into the works when OVO decided they’d been calculating things wrong in a couple of areas. Firstly the new contract had been worked out with the cost price of a kWh including VAT and I’d been billed without VAT….so in effect I’d paid VAT twice on every kW...at least I think that’s what happened, not sure. Hence I was credited for what I’d overpaid….but that knocked the accounts out again because it meant adjusting not only how much I’d been charged for the energy I’d used but also the credit for the energy I’d exported.

And then I changed contracts in July…...and it was back to the old OVO database and once again I had to wait till the end of the month to see how much I was in credit even though the Kaluza app has now been updated to show energy used every 30 minutes instead of 1 hour. In effect the Kaluza App is now doing what the improved OVO App was doing before they reverted back to the old one… The App now being used by OVO was so confusing I didn’t even notice that I hadn’t received my V2G credit for July when I queried the none payment for August and was told by OVO they had not paid both….

But the thing is neither OVO nor Kaluza tell us for what period we are receiving V2G Credit and despite being given monthly statements which change in accuracy depending on how much I’m being charged or credited retrospectively I haven’t a clue how much is in my account….I still think I have more money in credit than I should have, despite getting it checked 3 times by OVO.

I’m in the very fortunate position that I can use my OVO Account as a savings account with now 5% interest up to £1,000 rather than 1% in my ISA and though I’m in fuel credit for a year, I still continue to pay my monthly instalment just so I don’t spend that money elsewhere and if OVO fails I won’t be out of monthly credit. Others aren’t as lucky as me….oh and if you’re curious just how much you can have in advance there’s no limit. They just pay interest on the first £1,000 in your account. And it was when they told me I was £2,220 in credit and I calculated I should have been £300 in credit they realised they’d been adding my monthly instalments and V2G credits...but not deducting how much gas and electricity I’d used...since I changed contracts 12 months ago.

I appreciate that we are still in trial mode and that perhaps for that reason the two accounts don’t merge but I would have thought 14 months down the road these problems would have been ironed out and participants would be in a position to know just exactly how much they are being billed, being credited and have in advance by now.

I have no complaints though. I have the time to chat on the phone for an hour to sort things out and have always had a great crack with the people on the other end of the line in Bristol. I am not out of pocket and know that any problems will be rectified eventually. So, all in all I’ve enjoyed taking part in the trial, I’ve enjoyed giving feedback and learning from other’s feedback and look forward if possible to taking part in the Power Wall and Solar Panel trial….fingers crossed..

 

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Just an update….

 

On 6th December 2019 in the car showroom my car had 4 miles on the clock and the 62 kW battery capacity was 99.84% with 1 quick charge and 4 slow charges in it's history.

 

On 2nd December 2020 the car has 1,692 miles on the clock and a battery capacity of 97.81% with 484 Quick Charges and 42 slow charges.

 

Because the car has been parked up connected to the grid for most of the last 12 months, constantly charging and discharging, the car may have done 1,692 miles but the battery has done the equivalent of over 23,000 miles based on 3.5 miles per kW.

 

The battery therefore has degraded by 2.03% the equivalent of 4.8 miles dropping the range from 235 miles to 230 in one year......I can live with that.

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Some great data this, thanks for sharing @Leo Moran - safe to assume the battery would have degraded less if mileage was the same but no exports done this year? What is the usual annual degradation, and is it directly related to the amount of mileage (or charging)? Noob question probably. 

 

@Jequinlan or @D10hul is your thinking the same with this? 

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HMM !!

 

I have a Leaf 62, I collected in Feb 20, its now done over 9000 miles, and its been on the V2G, 

Off the top of my head it was 99.2 % when I collected it, last checked in November it was on 98.2%, I remember doing the math thinking in around 100,000 miles its likely to lose its first capacity bar and have a range of around 180 miles indicated. 

At present I actually charged to 100% yesterday and as we know the GOM is not really that accurate! but it indicated 223 miles range, now interestingly back in February it indicated similar, so no really losses as expected, in summer I was regularly seeing in excess of 240 with the most at 267 I think.  

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Can’t remember the degradation on the LEAF 2.Zero but I think it was similar. I’ll dig the information out and get back to you.

 

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