The aim of Solar Smart Charging is to charge from your solar panels as much as possible, as long as it's not more expensive than regular smart charging. Here's an explanation of how we do it.
If you're on a variable rate tariff
Our Solar Smart Charging algorithm works out the blended cost of charging from your solar panels, and uses this to decide when it is cheapest to charge.
We know that we cannot always rely on your solar panels generating all the energy required to charge your car: some energy will be coming from your solar panels and some will be coming from the grid. We therefore calculate a blended cost to figure out the actual price of charging you during sunny times. If you're solar smart charging, "cheapest" may be when it is sunniest - but sometimes it may actually be cheaper overnight.
See below for an example of how we calculate a blended price based on local (home) solar production.
For example, let's say your solar panels produce 50% of the energy used to power your vehicle, and you're on the Octopus Go tariff. In this case, your electricity costs 15p per kWh, except between 00:30 and 04:30 when it costs 5p. In this scenario, your effective cost of charging with 50% solar power and 50% grid electricity during the day is 7.5p per kWh.
However, we know that the cost will be 5p during the overnight off-peak window. Using that cheap energy is our priority, so we will fill those overnight slots up first. Then if your car needs more time to charge, we will schedule the remaining charge time when solar production will be at its highest.
Setting a price threshold
We will also respect your price threshold setting: we only charge when your solar setup produces enough energy so that your effective costs are below the price threshold.
For example, imagine you set your price threshold to 6p. In the scenario above, we would not schedule a charge during daylight hours, as the blended cost of 7.5p would be above your 6p threshold.
However, should the sun start shining brighter, and your solar panels start generating 75% of the energy needed to power your car, your blended cost would go down to 3.75p - and we would start smart charging you then, as the blended cost has gone below your 6p threshold.
If you're on a flat rate tariff
If you have a flat rate tariff, our job is easy: we consider that solar energy costs you zero, so charging your car with at least some solar energy is always cheaper than charging completely from the grid. Therefore we will maximize as much as we can the amount of time we charge you from your solar panels.
Keep your tariff up to date
If you have not told us what tariff you're on, or you have changed tariff recently - please add your latest tariff information in the app! We cannot reliably save you money unless you give us up-to-date information about your electricity tariff. Head to "Account > Energy Supply" and update your tariff details there.