Step by Step Setup Guide

Step by Step Setup Guide

Check compatibility

First up, check that the hardware (EV, Charger, Solar Inverter / Battery) you have is compatible with Charge HQ on our minimum hardware requirements page.

If you're not sure, contact us via email and we can confirm.

We're adding support for more EVs, Chargers, Solar Inverters and Batteries as quickly as we can!

Get the app and sign up

If you haven't already, follow the instructions on the Get Started page to download the mobile app and create a Charge HQ account.

Add Equipment

  1. If you have a Tesla vehicle and/or Tesla Solar / Powerwall - follow the Tesla Setup guide.
  2. Follow a solar inverter configuration guide to add your solar inverter. Note please skip this step if you have Tesla Solar / Powerwall.
  3. If you don't have a Tesla vehicle, configure your Smart Charger.

Charging settings

Next step is to configure the charging settings to customise the charging behaviour to your circumstance. Suggested settings for a number of common use cases are presented below. Detailed guides are provided which explain all the settings if you'd like to learn more about them.

Use case #1 - rooftop solar + home battery

These settings will first let your home battery charge to its limit from excess solar, then allow your EV to charge up to 90% from excess rooftop solar. Overnight, if you're not already above 60% charge, your EV will top-up to this level from the home battery or grid power.

Suggested settings:

  • Charge Limit: 90% (or the maximum you are comfortable to charge your vehicle to regularly)
  • Scheduled charging period of Always Charge during your off-peak period, e.g. 02:00 to 06:00, up to 60%
  • Solar tracking: Enabled
  • Solar tracking mode: Solar Only
  • Solar tracking Reference: Excess Solar
  • Solar Tracking Margin: 0 kW
  • Charge Priority: Battery
  • Min Solar Generation: Not Set
  • Min Excess Solar: Not Set

Notes:

  • If you're on a Time of Use tariff, check that your scheduled charging period overlaps with the off-peak tariff period. If you're on a Flat Rate tariff you can set your scheduled top up period to be any time of the day, but it's still a good idea to choose a time when demand is low or renewables generation is high.
  • The above settings will result in your vehicle charging from your home battery overnight if required to meet the 60% scheduled charge limit. Charge HQ is currently unable to control a home battery to maintain its charge whilst allowing the vehicle to charge directly from the grid. This may change in future.

Use case #2 - rooftop solar + consumption meter

If your solar monitoring shows your household power consumption, these settings are for you. These settings will cause your EV to charge up to 90% from excess rooftop solar. Overnight, if you're not already above 60% charge, your EV will top-up to this level from grid power.

Suggested settings:

  • Charge Limit: 90% (or the maximum you are comfortable to charge your vehicle to regularly)
  • Scheduled charging period of Always Charge during your off-peak period, e.g. 02:00 to 06:00, up to 60%
  • Solar tracking: Enabled
  • Solar tracking mode: Solar Only
  • Solar tracking Reference: Excess Solar
  • Solar Tracking Margin: 0 kW
  • Min Solar Generation: Not Set
  • Min Excess Solar: Not Set

Notes:

  • If you're on a Time of Use tariff, check that your scheduled charging period overlaps with the off-peak tariff period. If you're on a Flat Rate tariff you can set your scheduled top up period to be any time of the day, but it's still a good idea to choose a time when demand is low or renewables generation is high.

Use case #3 - rooftop solar with no consumption meter

If you don't have a home battery and your solar inverter doesn't monitor how much energy your home is consuming, Charge HQ will only know about your total solar production. It won't know how much is already being used by your home and how much is being exported to the grid.

These settings will set aside 1 kW of rooftop solar production to cover any home loads, and then use the rest to charge your EV. If your other home loads (e.g. heating) exceed 1 kW then you will use some grid power at times. Your EV will charge up to 90% from solar PV. Overnight, if you're not already above 60% charge, your EV will top-up to this level from grid power.

Suggested settings:

  • Charge Limit: 90% (or the maximum you are comfortable to charge your vehicle to regularly)
  • Scheduled charging period of Always Charge during your off-peak period, e.g. 02:00 to 06:00, up to 60% Charge Limit
  • Solar tracking: Enabled
  • Solar tracking mode: Solar Only
  • Solar Tracking Margin: 1 kW
  • Min Solar Generation: Not Set

With a manual top-up

In order to maximise use of your rooftop solar for EV charging, you may choose to more proactively manage your charging and manually control any grid charging. This may involve allowing your charge level to run down when sunny weather is forecast in subsequent days.

In this case, alter either of the above two configurations to remove the scheduled charging period.

Use case #4 - rooftop solar with variable rate tariff (e.g. Amber Australia)

If you have solar and are exposed to wholesale grid prices, here are some suggested settings (you'll need to adjust the prices to suit your situation):

  • Charge limit: 90%
  • Do Not Charge Price: 40 c/kWh
  • Always Charge Price: 5 c/kWh
  • Solar Tracking: enabled

Next you might combine it with:

  • A scheduled Always Charge period: between 02:00 - 06:00
  • A scheduled charge limit of 60%

These settings would result in the following:

  • Charging from solar up to 90%, except when export price exceeds 40 c/kWh (because you're better off receiving the 40 c/kWh credit).
  • When the price drops below 5 c/kWh, charge at max rate to 90%, at any time of day or night. This allows taking advantage of very low prices when they occur.
  • Charge to 60% by 6:00 am each morning, regardless of price. This is useful when you don't get enough charge from solar during the day.

See also a more detailed article on configuring Charge HQ when using Amber Electric as your electricity retailer.

Use case #5 - no rooftop solar + time of use or flat rate tariffs

If you have an EV but don't have rooftop solar - Charge HQ can still help you optimise your charging.

These settings will default your EV to charge when it is plugged in, but stop it whenever renewables generation is not above average or during your peak tariff period. They will allow charging to occur up to a 90% limit.

Average renewables generation on the grid varies both by state and by time of year, so best to have a look at opennem.org.au to get a feel for what a high or low level of renewables contribution is for your location. Likewise, peak tariff periods vary according to your local network operator. Your energy bill should provide a breakdown.

Suggested settings:

  • Charge Limit: 90%
  • Do Not Charge Price: not set (does not apply to ToU or Flat Rate)
  • Minimum Renewables: 40% (Australia only)
  • Scheduled Do Not Charge period: during your peak tariff period, say 3pm to 10pm.

Note: customers on flat rate tariffs could skip the above Do Not Charge period since they don't have a peak tariff. But, these are often periods of high demand and there's almost always sufficient time to charge your EV whilst not charging during these times so consider using it anyway.

Next, combine the above settings with:

  • A scheduled Always Charge period: between 02:00 - 06:00
  • A scheduled charge limit of 60%

This would override the above renewables limits to allow charging to occur for 4 hours every night but only up to a charge limit of 60%. So, if charging from the grid when renewables are high fails to get your vehicle's battery above 60%, you'll still get a minimum top up to 60% overnight so you can get to work and back the next day.

Note: again flat rate customers can set the scheduled charing period at any time of day since prices are not affected. Per above, consider using opennem.org.au to pick a time when renewable generation is often high. If you're regularly at home during the day, this might be between 10:00 and 14:00.

Use case #6 - no rooftop solar, variable rate tariff (e.g. Amber Australia)

These three settings will stop charging whenever power is not below average prices and renewables generation is not above average. At any time of day when they are met, they'll allow the EV to charge up to 90%.

Suggested settings:

  • Charge Limit: 90%
  • Do Not Charge Price: 20 c/kWh
  • Minimum Renewables: 40%

Next you might combine it with:

  • A scheduled Always Charge period: between 02:00 - 06:00
  • A scheduled charge limit of 60%

This would override the above (price and renewables) limits, to allow charging to occur for 4 hours every night only up to a charge limit of 60%. So, if charging doesn't occur when power is cheaper or when there's lots of renewables, you'll still get a minimum top up so you can get to work and back the next day.

See also a more detailed article on configuring Charge HQ when using Amber Electric as your electricity retailer.