With sustainability at the forefront of conversations in and around our industry we were - early adopters! Two years ago, we installed a 70kW ground mounted solar farm with a 30kW/130kWh Vanadium Redox Flow Technology Storage System. This fully functioning Micro Grid is the first of it's kind in New Zealand. We are able to power our entire building for most of the day with the energy created and stored in our Micro Grid. The system is smart, it knows when to store and when to consume, we have also included a smart charging schedule for our electric forklifts, these charge over the weekend from energy generated by our solar farm. If there is a storm or just not enough solar created, the system knows to pull from the grid to ensure the forklifts are charged and ready to go on Monday morning. With LED lighting controlled by motion and light sensors, we were able to reduce our lighting energy consumption by up to 80% compared to traditional lighting products.
In order to flip our fleet, we wanted to install more solar so we could charge these vehicles using our own energy. This time we've used the roof of our 5000m2 warehouse. We're in the process of installing an additional 80kW of panels to bring our installation to a whopping 150kW of generation. We have installed eight EV chargers here at our head office and currently run three EV in our fleet, with two employees driving their own EV to work. Our EV fleet is increasing as quickly as is practicably possible, when appropriate vehicles become available to the market. It's important when making the change to electric that the vehicle is selected based on the requirements of the driver, otherwise the move to electric isn't going to be as successful as you'd hope. The Wallbox chargers we've installed are pretty smart, they are able to 'power share' meaning they know what the maximum capacity of our installation is and they will share that capacity between all the cars connected to a charger. As each car reaches capacity the chargers automatically ramp up the kW to the remaining cars ensuring the installation is not overloaded. We can also load balance for multiple phases to ensure one phase isn't overloaded, and bi-directional charging is just around the corner too.
Having all this infrastructure installed at our office enables us to understand the process, frustrations and tricks around successful solar and successful EV charging. We can now help others change to solar and flip their fleets - because we know what it takes.