Transport Minister Norman Baker is to open the first eTap on the 6th July at CEME in Rainham. No, not Etap the budget continental hotel chain, but eTap. An electric car charging system that combines solar panels with the charging points.
The eTap (electricity on tap) is 45 solar panels
These earn an immediate income from the Feed-in Tariff and contribute to the electricity required to charge electric cars. The power from the panels is first routed through a nearby building (where it can be used for free) before being routed to the 6 eVolt electric car chargers (provided by APT Technologies).
The eTap has a pay by phone operating system and any excess demand from the chargers are met by the National Grid. The eTap is the brainchild of Use the Sun, a company set up to deliver Solar PV technology.
This is an important step towards renewable energy directly powering electric vehicles and it is interesting that this has come from a renewable energy company, rather than an electric car manufacturer or dedicated charging company. It will also be interesting to see the performance of the eTap and how much ultimately needs to be pulled from the grid.