More and more Americans are switching to hybrid or electric cars. These next-generation vehicles still need fuel, and electricity is not free – unless you have solar power.
While a gas station can be built almost anywhere but electric vehicle charging stations need to be placed close to dedicated service transformers to support their heavy draw from the grid.
Such infrastructures are not always available everywhere. The good news is that some technology innovation companies are filling in the service gaps with off-grid electric vehicle charging stations powered only by the sun.
These stations are freestanding Level 2 chargers that do not need to be tied to the power grid to work. Rather, they are equipped with a 4.28kW sun-tracking solar array and 32kWh of on-board battery storage.
They generate 100% of its stored electricity from solar panels. Since the units are off the grid, they will continue to charge EVs during blackouts and grid interruptions.
Also, these units are independently rated to withstand winds up to 120 mph and floods up to 9.5 feet. These units are designed to fit in a standard parking space, EVs can park on the unit so there is no loss of precious parking.
An added bonus is that these units are permanent yet movable; the station can be relocated for a move from leased properties, emergencies, or just because you did not get it right the first time.
While car manufacturers are also experimenting on their own with direct solar car charging, it is not yet clear how effective the solution can be. At this point, the power supplied by solar panels continues to be too small to be a practical replacement of an EV charging station.