Frequently asked questions

Find answers to common questions about electric vehicle charging, solar and battery storage

Electric vehicle charging FAQs

It's a common occurrence but completely manageable. Our fully customisable software allows clients to efficiently manage charge points, optimise usage and create additional revenue opportunities.

Our EV charge point back-office solution makes tracking usage, monitoring availability and controlling access to electric vehicle charge points painless.

If you are affected by workplace EV charging challenges, then ORKA can help.

Over the next two years, the UK will adopt new regulations addressing the progression of the EV charging infrastructure and the overall consumer experience.

The legislation will require all public EV chargers to have:

  • Contactless payments
  • Standardised pence per kWh
  • Roaming enabled
  • Open data for discoverability
  • 99% network reliability
  • 24/7 driver helpline

ORKA utilises an innovative EV charging back-office platform called Fuuse which will ensure you are fully compliant with new regulations.

The number of electric vehicles on the road is increasing, and so is the need for places to charge them:

  • Installing charging points at your business demonstrates your commitment to the environment while providing convenience for your employees and visitors of your premises.
  • It will likely become a legal requirement for businesses to provide charge points for employees and visitors to its premises.
  • Having the ability to offer your EV charging points outwith your regular business hours to anyone can be a great way to expand your sustainability commitments even further.
  • Establishing your own charging points also provides an additional revenue stream to your business.

We encourage you to stay ahead of the curve by installing your EV charge points sooner than later!

Landlords have no current legal obligation to install EV chargers. However, as there are grants available until March 2024, and now is the time to apply for them.

There are two grants available to commercial and residential landlords, including social housing providers. In rental and leasehold properties, the EV charge point grant is for installing EV charge points, and the other EV infrastructure grant is towards supporting infrastructure needed for the installation of those EV charge points.

  • An EV charge point grant helps with the installation cost. You could get either £350 or 75% off the cost to purchase and install a socket - whichever is lower.

You could receive up to 200 grants a year for residential properties and a further 100 for commercial properties.

  • An EV infrastructure grant helps with the cost of broader building and installation work required to install multiple charge points. This can be for EV charge points you want to install now and in the future. Depending on how many parking spaces the project covers, you could receive up to £30,000 or 75% off the required project cost.

You could receive up to 30 grants a year for installing infrastructure in residential car parks.

If you have existing chargers that aren't performing as they should, it's natural to assume that you might need a completely new installation.

However, that isn't always the case, and ORKA will never try to sell you chargers if you don't need them. If you are experiencing some challenges installed by another supplier, we encourage you to get in touch as we may be able to help!

ORKA utilises an easy-to-use EV management software called Fuuse which can help solve many of the challenges you may be facing. With Fuuse and ORKA's help, you can keep track of all your company's electric vehicle charging stations and ensure they're being used correctly, while having full visibility and control of connectivity, pricing, users, and so much more.

Integrating EV charging points with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, is a win-win scenario. The process involves connecting the charging infrastructure to your renewable energy system, ensuring that the power used to charge vehicles comes from clean, renewable sources.

Integrating EV charging points with renewable energy sources offers several benefits:

  • Reduced carbon emissions: By utilising clean energy to charge EVs, you're significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation.
  • Maximised sustainability: Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability becomes even more impactful when your EV charging operations are powered by renewable energy.
  • Cost savings: Generating your own renewable energy means lower energy costs, which can translate to decreased operational expenses for charging and powering your business.
  • Energy independence: By generating your own clean energy, you're less reliant on grid power and more self-sufficient when it comes to your energy needs.
  • Technical integration: The technical integration involves connecting your EV charging infrastructure to your renewable energy system. This requires coordination between your EV charging provider and your renewable energy system installer to ensure proper compatibility and functionality.
  • Monitoring and control: You can prioritise charging when renewable energy production is at its peak, optimising your clean energy resources.

If you're considering EV charging and renewable energy, partnering with ORKA, which specialises in EVCP, solar pv and battery storage, is another good business decision. We can help design a solution that seamlessly integrates these technologies, maximising their combined benefits.

There has been an expansion to the eligible postcodes for domestic charge point funding! This exciting development means that people residing in postcodes previously categorised under Groups 3 and 4 are now eligible to apply for the £400 funding to support the purchasing and installation of home EV Chargers.

To find out more, please click here.

New government legislation is focused on improving the consumer EV charging experience. One strategic change planned to bolster the EV charging infrastructure and drive us closer to the ambitious EV goals in the UK will be to ensure charger discoverability by 2024.

The OCPI protocol is a framework that aims to mandate the visibility of public charger data by 2024. Finding a public charging station will be as simple as a few taps on your screen. Opening the floodgates of dynamic data from all public EV chargers ensures that consumers can access more charging options quickly.

Charge Point Operators (CPOs) are now empowered to promote their chargers across major navigation maps seamlessly. Get in touch with our team to learn more about increasing the discoverability of your EV chargers!

  1. Site Assessment:
    Conduct an on-site evaluation to determine the most suitable locations for EV charging points. Factors like visibility, accessibility, proximity to power sources, and user convenience all have to be considered.
  2. Electrical Assessment:
    Evaluate your electrical infrastructure to ensure it can support the additional load of charging points. If upgrades are necessary, plan for essential electrical work.
  3. Planning and Design:
    Design a layout that optimises charging point placement and wiring paths. This phase may involve technical drawings and approvals.
  4. Equipment Procurement:
    EV charging equipment will be ordered, including charging stations, cables, and any necessary accessories specific to your project needs.
  5. Infrastructure Preparation:
    If electrical upgrades are required, schedule the necessary electrical work to ensure your infrastructure can handle the charging stations' power demands.
  6. Installation:
    Physically install the charging stations, including mounting, wiring, and connecting to the electrical grid. The duration depends on the number of charging points and complexity.
  7. Electrical Connection:
    Connect the charging stations to the electrical supply and test their functionality. This phase ensures the stations are operational and safe.
  8. Software Set-up and Testing:
    Set up back-end management systems to monitor and control the charging stations. Test user authentication, payment processing, and remote management.
  9. Launch and Communication:
    Promote the availability of your EV charging points to customers, employees, or tenants. Providing clear communication about how to use the stations.
  10. Monitoring and Maintenance:
    Regularly monitor the performance of the charging stations and perform routine maintenance to ensure optimal functionality and user experience.
  11. Total Timeline:
    The entire process, from site assessment to fully operational EV charge points, will depend on factors such as site complexity and any necessary electrical upgrades.

ORKA ensures a smooth and successful installation of EV charging points at your premises, providing a valuable service for visitors, customers, employees, or tenants while contributing to a more sustainable future. Contact us today to get help with your EV charging project!

In September 2023, the UK had 29,709 public charging sites with a total of 77,531 connectors, (Zapmap). As the electric vehicle industry continues to grow, so does the public EV charging infrastructure. This expansion is promising for the future of EVs and the UK's Net Zero targets. However, these public charge points need to be monitored and maintained.

Individuals responsible for managing charge points are known as Charge Point Operators (CPOs). The role of CPO can be overwhelming without the right charge point management software.

Here are some examples of a CPO:

  1. The Local Authority Public Charging Manager: Local authorities, which can include entities like the NHS and councils, are increasingly offering public charging options to support the EV charging infrastructure. Managing dozens of public and workplace charge points requires proper tools to track and report on charger utilisation, energy consumption, and sustainability.
  2. The Fleet Manager: Many businesses and organisations are transitioning fleets to electric vehicles to align with the UK's Net Zero goal. Managing the charging of an EV fleet can be complex, but with the right infrastructure and tools, it's achievable. Concerns about energy demand and grid impact can be addressed with Energy Monitoring Software and Dynamic Load Balancing.
  3. The Workplace Charging Manager: Providing workplace charging facilities can attract and retain staff, particularly those with electric vehicles. It also shows a commitment to sustainability and allows clients and investors to charge when they visit the location. Government grants, like the Workplace Charging Scheme, make installing a charging infrastructure attainable.
  4. The Destination Charge Point Manager: Offering charging facilities to guests and customers at destination locations not only provides convenience but can also enhance customer loyalty. Businesses like shopping centres and supermarkets benefit from customers spending more time at their locations while their cars charge.
  5. The Landlord: Installing chargers at rental properties increases property value and attracts tenants with electric vehicles. It also future-proofs locations against potential fines for not offering charging facilities, especially in buildings where regulations are becoming more stringent. Landlords can generate passive income by allowing public charging.
  6. The Holiday Home Owner: Investing in charge points at holiday homes or Airbnb locations provides an additional source of passive income. It's also an attractive amenity in the hospitality market, attracting guests with electric vehicles. Revenue can come from both guests and public usage of the charging facilities.

Please get in touch with our experts if you are a CPO looking for help with the management of your chargers.

Solar and battery storage FAQs

Solar panels, otherwise known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are designed to be long-lasting. In fact, although some may look very outdated now, many solar panels installed over three decades ago are still performing well.

Solar manufacturers typically provide warranties for products that promise certain performance guarantees. Solar panels will degrade over time, with the median degradation rate being approximately 0.5%. This means a solar panel's energy production will reduce by 0.5% annually.

Yes, you can have home battery storage without solar panels. Home battery storage systems are designed to store electricity from the grid or other sources, not just solar panels. These systems can provide several benefits, including:

  • Backup power: Home battery storage can serve as a backup power source during outages, ensuring your essential appliances and devices continue to operate.
  • Time-of-use savings: Some homeowners use home battery storage to take advantage of time-of-use (TOU) electricity pricing. They can charge the battery during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper and use the stored energy during peak hours when rates are higher.
  • Energy independence: Battery storage can help reduce your reliance on the grid and provide greater energy independence.
  • Environmental benefits: By using the battery during peak hours, you can reduce your carbon footprint and support clean energy use, even without solar panels.

The battery system can be connected to your home's electrical system and charged from the grid. During periods of low electricity demand or when electricity rates are lower, you can charge the battery. Then, during peak hours or outages, you can use the stored energy.

Keep in mind that the cost of a home battery storage system may vary depending on factors such as the size of the battery, its capacity, and the installation costs.

Contact us today and explore the different battery options and determine if it's a cost-effective solution for your particular energy needs.

When it comes to installing solar PV and battery storage systems, understanding the G98 and G99 standards is crucial for safety and compliance.

  • G98 is your go-to if you're setting up a solar PV system with a capacity of up to 16 amps per phase, typically found in residential or small commercial installations. A system complying with G98 is an install and advise, and ensures safe integration with the grid.
  • G99 on the other hand, steps in for larger-scale solar PV and battery storage systems delivering more power (typically above 16 amps per phase). It's all about safeguarding the grid and workers, especially during unusual conditions like power outages. If a system requires G99, then this application requires approval BEFORE installation begins.

These standards may sound technical, but they're vital for ensuring the reliability and safety of renewable energy systems. If you're planning a solar or storage project, consulting with experts who know G98 and G99 can make all the difference.

Installing solar PV on your premises near an airport involves important considerations, including planning permission and glint and glare assessments. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Planning permission:

  • Local regulations: Start by researching and understanding the local zoning and planning regulations. Different regions may have specific rules.
  • Airport authority: Contact the local airport authority and ask about any regulations or guidelines they have in place for structures near the airport.
  • Building codes: Ensure installation complies with building codes and safety regulations.
  • Visual impact: Consider the visual impact of the solar panels on the surrounding area. Some local planning authorities may have guidelines regarding the aesthetics of solar installations.

Glint and glare assessment:

  • Solar panel orientation: Proper positioning of panels can help reduce the impact on the airport and neighbouring properties.
  • Glare modelling: Consult with experts who can perform glare modelling studies. These studies use computer simulations to predict when and where glare may occur. Adjust the panel angles and positions if necessary to moderate glare.
  • Communication with airport: Establish communication with the airport authority to address their concerns regarding glint and glare. Discuss potential solutions to mitigate issues, such as adjusting panel angles or adding anti-reflective coatings
  • Environmental impact assessment: Depending on the size and location of the solar installation, you may need to conduct an environmental impact assessment, which may include glare effects on wildlife, if applicable.

Engage professionals:

  • It's highly recommended to work with professionals like ORKA who are experienced in solar PV installations and understand local regulations and airport-specific considerations.

Documentation and permits:

  • Ensure that all necessary documentation and permits are obtained before installation. This may include planning permits and aviation approvals.

Monitoring and compliance:

  • After installation, regularly monitor the system to ensure it operates as intended and complies with any conditions imposed by the airport or local authorities.

It's essential to consult with local authorities, airport authorities, and experts in solar PV installations to navigate the complexities of installing solar panels near an airport while addressing planning permission and glint and glare assessment concerns.

Each case can be unique, so a thorough assessment and collaboration are crucial. Ready to start your solar PV journey? Contact us today.

This is one of the most frequently asked questions of our team. A properly designed, installed and commissioned system will start generating energy within hours.

In terms of savings, those are more specific to each client's current costs and energy use. The return on installation investment timescale can be from months to years, and anywhere in between. Fortunately, our design team can be more precise with individual timescales.

To see a real example of one of ORKA's customers and how much it managed to save, please click here.

When choosing the right size for your current needs and allowing for future growth, it's important to consider:

  • Your daily electricity usage: You should determine how much electricity you use daily and choose a battery system that meets those needs.
  • Future growth: If you plan on expanding your home or increasing your electricity usage, choosing a larger battery system to accommodate those changes is important.
  • Budget considerations: Battery storage systems come in various sizes and costs, so it's essential to balance your current needs with what is feasible in terms of budget constraints.

As well as saving you money on your energy bills, solar panels can also earn you cash. However, you will likely get less selling your unused energy back to the grid than the saving you'll make by directly storing it and using it yourself.

Energy prices have sky-rocketed, but the cost of solar panels has come down. Generating solar power and using it yourself provides more significant savings now than it used to.

It is best to use most of your electricity while generating it to maximise your savings. If that's not possible, perhaps the premises are empty during daylight hours, adding a battery storage system allows you to use the energy later.

If you have electric cars, it would be wise to maximise the energy generated from your solar panels by using a battery storage system, allowing you to charge vehicles overnight from energy generated during the day.

To get a better picture of how much you could potentially save with solar panels, please take a look at one of our real-life examples.

Getting planning permission for solar panels is a breeze for most homes. That's because they usually fall under the 'permitted development' category, which means you can typically go ahead without the hassle of seeking planning permission. This rule also extends to many non-residential buildings.

However, we recommend considering the impact these can possibly have on your neighbours. Your solar panel system shouldn't reach higher than the tallest point of your roof (excluding chimneys), and they should stay within 0.2 meters of the roof's slope. If you happen to have a flat roof, then you may need to install a supportive frame.

If your property is a listed building or in a conservation area, then you may need to obtain planning permission. Of course, all of this will be considered by our team of experts should you wish to partner with ORKA for your solar panel project.

The amount of savings you can make with solar panels will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the installation, the amount of energy your business consumes, and more.

However, to get a better idea of how much you can save, we encourage you to take a look at this real-life example from one of our customers who are set to save an estimated total of £901,467 from 2023 to 2042.

Please get in touch with our team to get a better idea of how much you can potentially save with a solar panel installation.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) tell us it's a glowing 148,000 homes.

In the first half of 2023, the solar scene in Scotland was buzzing with activity, boasting 13,175 new installations. That's a 29% spike from the solar fever of 2022.

If we cast our minds back to 2009, there were a mere 24 households that dared to be Solar PV pioneers. Fast forward to today, it's evident that more and more people are choosing to be less reliant on the grid and more aware of their environmental choices.

Absolutely YES!

ORKA understands that not every business has a consistent energy consumption pattern. Solar and battery storage systems are designed to be versatile and adaptable to varying energy needs.

Combining solar panels and battery storage offers a strategic solution for businesses with irregular energy usage.

ORKA specialises in designing bespoke solutions that consider businesses' unique energy profiles. Whether your energy usage is sporadic or follows a more traditional pattern, we tailor a solar and battery storage system to optimise energy efficiency and financial savings.

We're here to make renewable energy work for your business, regardless of its energy consumption patterns.

General FAQs

At ORKA, we'll never cram your needs and requirements for renewable energy solutions into a one-size-fits-all package. Each of our solutions is completely tailored to your project.

For a better understanding of how much your project can cost, we encourage you to get in touch with our team where we can understand more about your requirements. After which, we can provide you with a no-obligation quote for your installlation.

Are you aware of Scotland's ambitious goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2045?

It's a journey that requires the collective efforts of all industries, including yours. By installing solar panels, not only will you be doing your part in this vital cause, but you'll also be reducing your carbon footprint. This initiative presents an opportunity for your business to stay ahead of the curve amidst external pressures.

Have you heard of greenhouse gas reporting? This mandatory initiative requires large organisations across the UK to report energy consumption, GHG emissions, and energy efficiency efforts.

Got a question for our team?

Send us a question, and we'll respond with an answer as soon as we can - as well as add it to this page to help others.