Solar Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles (EV’s)
Solar charging stations for electric vehicles (EV’s)
The combination of solar energy and electric vehicle (EV) charging is the key in drastically reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Electricity comes from a variety of sources and it’s crucial that electric vehicles will be powered by renewables. Electric cars are becoming immensely popular and coming years we expect nearly anyone who owns a solar energy system will install a solar charging station at its home. For this to happen we’ll need a fundamental change in how we think about refueling our cars and a natural evolution of our energy infrastructure.
What is the change in thinking that we need?
Most people believe we need to be able to charge our plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) within 2-4 minutes, similar to pulling over at a gas station and filling up your car with gas. Even though Tesla’s super chargers are trying to do exactly that, electric charging is going to be different from what people are used to. From now on most people will charge their electric cars with their home solar charging station while they sleep or while they’re at work. Solar charging stations will be used for "topping off” an electric car, giving the owner enough battery charge to return home where she can fully recharge the EV.
Fact: Just 10 solar panels should provide roughly enough electricity to power 21,000 kilometers of electric driving each year. How’s that?
On-Grid solar charging stations
A grid-tied solar energy system is the most straight forward way to charge your electric car with solar energy. A grid-tied solar energy system will feed the power to the grid, regardless of whether your home needs the power at that moment or not. So when your solar energy system is feeding to the grid, and you are at your office, the electric power generated at home is sold to the utility company. You’ll get that power back from the utility company in the form of a credit. When you come back from work and park your car at home, you can use that credit to re-charge your car at home.
A conventional electric vehicle charger that is connected to the grid “will almost always be cheaper” than an Off-Grid charger that stores the power in batteries.
Off-Grid Solar charging station
An Off-Grid electrical car charger can also be named "Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger" There’s no connection to local utilities required. The solar panel array will feed the battery energy storage system and the entire power needs are drawn from this storage system. Off-grid electrical car chargers can be placed virtually anywhere, as there’s no need for a connection to the electrical grid. The independent solar array canopy catches quite some wind, and for that reason a solid foundation is required. Some off-grid solar energy chargers have a heavy steel base plate that functions as ballast. Those are extremely easy and quick to install, as no foundation or digging is required.
Most electric car owners will completely charge their EV batteries at night at their homes. Therefore for most solar charging stations, the objective is not to fully charge an electric car, but to allow several cars to “top off” their batteries.
Components needed for a solar charging station
- EV charger
- Solar panel array, installed on roof, ground or canopy
- Battery energy storage system (ESS, in case of an Off-Grid Solar energy charging station)
- Solid foundation, in case of a stand-alone solar charging canopy (Often used: a steel base plate that functions as ballast, so no foundation is required, simplifying the installation).
- Intelligent software
If you are still driving a conventional car using 100 years old technology (gas), sell that thing and be part of the future with an EV! As you know electricity comes from a variety of sources, including dirty fossil fuels, and now is the time to push for renewables to take its place. Solar charging stations for home and commercial use will play a major role in powering electric vehicles with renewable energy.