Can solar panels be used to charge an electric car for free?

I opted for hybrid (solar plus batteries) and my chosen installer, Locogen Energy Services, came back with a quote that included several pages of information such as expected daily energy flows for the area I live in, system performance predictions and environmental benefits.

Locogen’s specification was for 16 420W solar panels giving an ‘installed capacity’ of 6.72kW capable of producing an estimated 6008kWh (units) per year.

They would be hooked up to a 5kW-rated Solis hybrid inverter to convert DC electricity from the panels to AC, a 48V, 4.8kWh Pylontech lithium-iron-phosphate battery (Locogen recommended two of these and I would upgrade later) and a wi-fi dongle to connect the system to the phone app via the Solis cloud.

That lot would cost £11,000, with a forecast payback period of 5.9 years and a predicted return on investment of 682%. On top of that, I had to pay a fee of £300 for G99 approval from the distribution network operator. Approval is required if connecting anything larger than a 3.86kW generating system to the grid.

Once it’s fitted, you can either forget about it or continually obsess over the app and, naturally, I chose the second option. The system feeds the home first, then the batteries and then anything left over is fed back to the grid.

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