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Vehicles powering buildings? Welcome to 2018

Salford University’s famous Energy House has become the latest test lab for vehicle-to-grid charging technology, which enables electric vehicle owners to sell energy back to the grid.

Salford University’s famous Energy House has become the latest test lab for vehicle-to-grid charging technology, which enables electric vehicle owners to sell energy back to the grid. 

Two-way V2G charging systems allow the energy stored in an electric vehicle to be released back to the grid to power homes and businesses, effectively making the vehicle owner an energy supplier with potentially zero fuel costs - especially when combined with on-site solar power.

Popular concept

The potential to gather income from an electric vehicle sitting in a garage is the latest addition to the growing benefits of going electric, and the technology is already starting to be trialled at small scales by companies such as Nissan.

The government is also keen to support the concept and has boosted funding by almost £30 million to support 21 new trials across the country, including a pilot of electric van fleets.

One project is using the Energy House, a typical Victorian terraced house contained within a climate-controlled lab at Salford University. 

Local expertise

The Energy House has an international reputation for testing energy use in homes and was selected to explore different energy flows in a typical home when connected to an electric car.

The project includes carmaker Honda, energy supplier Good Energy and Salford-based Upside Energy, which is developing a ‘Virtual Energy Store’ cloud service that aggregates energy stored by homes and businesses and sells it back to the grid.

Neil Jones, programme manager at Upside Energy said: “These tests at a single house level will help us establish a baseline of data which could be scaled up to hundreds if not thousands of homes and vehicles and start to identify what services can be offered to householders and the grid in the future.”