“Ah, but where does your electricity come from?” That is the tricky question customers ask founders of The Village Refill, Maya Ellis and Krystina Reynolds, and now with the help of a PV system and Zappi smart EV charging system fitted by NGRE, they have their answers.
Oxfordshire-based, The Village Refill, aims to help households and businesses eliminate the use of single-use plastics. To do this they provide a range of natural, cruelty free and environmentally friendly, household and personal care products delivered direct to their customers’ doorsteps in glass, refillable bottles which they collect or refill when empty.
With the help of sponsorship from NGRE and other local companies, The Village Refill recently saved an old electric van from a glamping site repurposing it with Tesla batteries to full-fill deliveries to their growing customer base.
Maya said: “Every single product we sell we thoroughly scrutinise, and it is important to us personally, and to the business, that we are transparent in every way.
“That is why having a PV system and an electric van, which had to be electric and had to be second-hand, is massively important. So when we get questions like, “but you deliver using a van”, we’re able to say, “yes, but it’s electric”, and when we’re asked, “ah, but where does that electricity come from?”, we’re able to say “from our solar panels”.
The Solar PV System
The company invested in a 12-panel, 4kWp solar system, fitted by NGRE to the roof of their Refill Hub. It’s estimated to generate 3340 kWh annually and with an estimated annual CO2 offset of 1740kg.
Maya said: “The electricity from the panels goes into powering our studio and then the van and our own electric car. If we need any more, we can draw 100% renewable electricity from the grid.”
The Zappi Smart Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging System
To charge the new Tesla batteries in the electric van, NGRE also installed a 7kW Zappi smart charging system which not only operates as a standard EV charger but also allows The Village Refill to utilise the green energy generated by their PV system.
The charging system combines Zappi’s innovative EV charger with its Hub, allowing the company to monitor and control the system remotely using Zappi’s myenergi app. It also allowed the business to benefit from a £500 grant courtesy of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which has supported smart charge points only since July 2019.
Maya said: “As a family, we’ve had an electric car since February and we’re loving it. It’s pennies to charge, we love the way it drives and the fact that the parts are easy to replace but actually hardly ever need replacing means I’m beginning to think this might be our car for life.”
Maya added: “Greg and NGRE have been brilliant. They fitted our panels, our charger and helped with the cost of converting the van which have all been vital parts of meeting our aspirations as a business.”
Greg Bishop, Managing Director of NGRE, said: “The Village Refill is a really wonderful local company and we’re proud to have been a part of their exciting journey.
“I feel there is certainly some synergy between us in that both of us look to help people do the right thing in terms of the environment and sustainability.”
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NGRE specialise in the supply of the latest renewable solutions for homeowners, businesses, architects and builders in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas and have more than 10 years’ experience. Next Generation can carry out the installation of the latest EV charge points, alongside solar panels and battery storage units.