Make use of time-of-use rates and solar for significant savings
By pivoting away from a conventional gas-powered car or truck, you may be one of the millions of drivers reducing your personal carbon footprint and transportation expenses with an electric vehicle.
While it is no secret that driving an EV can lower your annual fuel costs, how and when you charge your vehicle’s battery can significantly impact your overall savings.
In this article, we will demonstrate exactly how Enphase EV Chargers can save you money using smart features that navigate time-of-use (TOU) utility rates and intuitive operating modes to integrate with the other elements of your home energy system.
Understanding TOU Rates
Before we get into the economic benefits of Enphase’s technology, let’s first look at how the costs of charging your EV may vary depending on when your vehicle is charged.
Time-of-use (TOU), also known as peak, variable, or demand-based pricing, is a utility billing mechanism that adjusts electricity rates based on the hour, day of the week, and the time of year your power is consumed. TOU rate structures can be either mandatory or voluntary and usually follow electricity pricing structure for peak and off-peak hours.
Off-peak electricity hours
Off-peak hours designate the periods when less electricity is generally consumed. During off-peak hours (usually overnight or between demand spikes in the morning and evening), the cost to produce and transmit electricity is at its lowest, allowing utilities to offer a reduced rate for the power in your home.
Charging your EV during “off-peak” hours can help you save a significant amount of money on your transportation costs. Depending on your location, your utility may also offer “super off-peak hours” in which rates are at their absolute lowest for optimized EV charging.
Peak electricity hours
Occupying anywhere from 4 to 10 hours per day, “peak” hours occur when energy demand is at its highest and new electricity is more expensive for utilities to produce and send through the grid. Financially speaking, peak hours are the worst times to charge an EV.
Depending on your location and time of year, peak hours may be divided into separate morning and evening chunks (usually in the winter) or applied to one long set of hours (more typical in the summer) from midday to the early evening.
Shoulder electricity hours
In some areas, billing schedules also include “shoulder” or “partial-peak” electricity hours which fill the gaps between peak and off-peak periods. EV charging is less expensive during shoulder periods than in peak demand hours, but still pricier than off-peak consumption.
Know your local TOU rates to save on EV charging
While taking advantage of EV charger incentives is a terrific way to lower the upfront expenses of your equipment, knowing if your utility has time-of-use rates can help you keep the ongoing charging costs of your electric vehicle (as well as other large home appliances) as low as possible.
For an idea of how TOU rates differ across the country, here is a glance at the energy pricing in three separate utility service areas.
|State||Utility Company||On-peak hour charging rate||Off-peak hour charging rate||Savings|
|California||Southern California Edison||$0.57||$0.36||$0.21 per kWh|
|North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana||Duke Energy (Rates for Florida)||$0.23||$0.19||$0.04 per kWh|
|Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin||Xcel Energy (Time-of-Day in SD)||$0.20||$0.04||$0.16 per kWh|
When looking into your local utility’s policies, you may discover there are multiple TOU plans available to help various kinds of power consumers and EV drivers save money. Some utilities, like CPS Energy in San Antonio, TX, even offer programs that incentivize overnight EV charging with bill credits or direct deposit payments.
How to save money with Enphase EV chargers
Rigorously tested for safety and efficiency, Enphase EV chargers are designed for long-term savings with high-quality hardware, performance guarantees, and 24/7 customer support. With an Enphase EV Charger installation, you do not have to worry about costly repairs or replacements for five full years under our industry-leading warranty coverage.
To illustrate exactly how you can save money with Enphase EV Chargers, here are three scenarios to help navigate TOU rate schedules, tap into other energy resources, and power your vehicle with the cheapest electricity possible.
Maximize your savings with an Enphase home energy system
As part of a larger Enphase Home Energy System, Enphase’s IQ EV Charger offers several profiles designed to maximize savings and help you meet your unique energy goals.
Self-Consumption profile: Using the Self-Consumption profile, the IQ EV Charger focuses on energy independence by always prioritizing solar energy for charging your EV. Integrated into an Enphase Home Energy System, an IQ EV Charger will send excess solar electricity and battery capacity into your EV battery to avoid feed-in-tariffs (FITs) and achieve lower charging costs.
When looking at the annual expenses of EV charging, powering your electric vehicle with solar costs significantly less than public charging stations ($1,058) and grid power at home ($662), at an estimated $415 per year.
Savings Profile: In the Savings profile, the IQ EV Charger will charge using excess solar power and battery capacity during off-peak hours. With full customization available to fit your driving habits, the Savings profile minimizes dependance on the energy grid by only charging your EV during off-peak hours unless an add-on charging schedule is set.
By always navigating around peak utility pricing hours, leaving the IQ EV Charger in Savings profile can keep your charging costs at their absolute lowest. If you need to charge your EV at another convenient time, the Enphase App also makes it easy to activate a charge with the tap of a button to temporarily override your scheduled savings.
Exploring the full potential of the IQ EV Charger
Beyond its seamless integration with other Enphase hardware and software, the IQ EV Charger can also help you reduce your EV charging costs both as a standalone piece of equipment and in conjunction with a different brand solar energy system.
After the IQ EV Charger is installed and connected to the cloud, your system can quickly determine and initiate an optimized schedule for off-peak charging based on your utility provider and plans even without solar or battery storage connected.
To discover the best times to charge your EV, simply select your state and utility provider in the Enphase app (Menu>Settings>EV Charger>Schedules>Off-Peak Schedule). In an instant, you can see your area’s electricity pricing structure as well as a recommended schedule for your lowest potential EV charging costs.
Saving money with any Enphase EV Charger
Even without smart equipment like the IQ EV Charger, you can still save money on the costs of charging your electric vehicle’s battery with an HCS, or unconnected Enphase EV Charger. After confirming your local TOU rate structure with your electric utility, you can create an optimized schedule within your EV App to prioritize charging during off-peak hours and lower your utility energy spending.
From there, your 5-year limited warranty and Enphase’s 24/7 customer service will continue to protect your investment with high quality equipment and performance guarantees designed to keep more of your savings in your pocket over the lifetime of your EV charger.
Ready to design your home energy system for optimized EV charging?