Many electric vehicle owners and electric car charging stations face high energy consumption that multiplies the electricity bills. Also, let’s not forget how we get this electricity in the first place. According to the energy information administration, most U.S. electricity is gained from natural gas, coal, and nuclear power.
The conventional methods to obtain energy are neither viable nor renewable. The only suitable alternative is switching to solar power to convert chemical energy from the sun to electricity.
Other options are also available such as wind, biomass, or geothermal. Still, some are not as developed, while others have limitations, such as ineffective wind power in areas that do not have winds.
However, solar power is almost readily available in all parts of the world, with very few exceptions. Also, the research and development behind this idea have been going on for more than a decade. It is now readily available in markets for people to purchase.
The Need for a Solar Powered Charging Station
Most houses and commercial buildings have solar panels on their roof and have shifted to solar energy consumption. In terms of cost, it is arguable that solar does cost more, but it is a one-time investment that could work for your upcoming generations as well.
The two hot topics in technology and automotive are electric vehicles and electric car charging stations or ports. Big companies like Tesla, Volkswagen, and Bosch, are manufacturing electric vehicles that are truly revolutionary.
To aid this technology, these companies and other independent tech firms like ChargePoint and EVgo Network have made electric chargers and charging stations where electric vehicle drivers can recharge their cars when on the road.
Today, California is the hub of electric vehicles. Catering to the needs of electric vehicle drivers is essential, so installing as many charging stations as possible is the only way that the demand meets the supply.
The boost in the purchase of electric cars has increased the demand for electric car charging stations, but this process has a downside. The electricity used in a single charge is high and paying per minute or per kWh becomes costly for regular customers.
Since the whole point of buying an electric car is to reduce gas consumption because of its hiked rates, this issue creates the same situation for energy. So the only way to counter this issue is to use a solar-powered electric car charging station. A charging station gains power from the sun and then charges your car.
Building solar panels to produce electricity that could potentially charge electric vehicles is the right step in providing the world with an excellent energy-based transport method. A sustainable solution that will decrease the carbon footprint on the earth.
A canopy of solar panels can quickly provide a fast charging output as well, so drivers do not need to worry that the types of charging by the solar panel will be limited. A solar-powered electric car station has everything from level 1 charging, which requires approximately 100 volts, to a fast charging D.C. port which requires about 900 volts.
In truth, having a D.C. fast charger powered by solar would require acres of field to build solar energy canopies to fill the need for the D.C. output. So, most solar stations only provide level 1 and 2 charging that is also acceptable for short routes and feasible.
Solar Powered Electric Car Charging Station in The U.S.A.
Many households have solar panels charging their electric vehicles, but some big companies are now in the race to provide 100% renewable energy on the charging station sites.
After some research, we have listed below some companies that have installed this alternate energy or announced the work in progress regarding the matter.
Electrify America is a charging station network that provides all types of charging, including fast D.C. charging for every electric vehicle brand. As a result of bringing out a positive image of Volkswagen after the diesel emission scandal, this charging station network is at the top of the chain.
Recently, Electrify America has launched a new line of charging stations that solar energy will power in rural areas around California. To aid the initiative, all solar-powered stations are sourced from Beam Global, formerly known as Envision Solar; the company has installed 30 off-grid free charging stations in areas where no electricity is accessible.
These standalone charging ports overcome drivers’ anxiety when driving around areas without stations. Also, this way, more people would become open-minded about adopting electric cars as their option for commuting.
A senior manager from Electrify America, Nina Huesgen, explained the need for solar-powered stations to diversify commuters’ lifestyles. She also stated that renewable energy and public charging in rural communities would expand, and interest would develop around technology. Furthermore, they must increase drivers’ access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The off-grid stations also provide safety to residents; however, there won’t be many stations in northern areas where the weather is cold and gray.
ChargePoint is another important name in the list of charging station manufacturers; however, it only provides level 2 charging to electric vehicles. The company has now partnered with Beam Global as well to provide solar-powered charging stations to the public.
Based in California, the ChargePoint network has expanded into 14 countries and has more than 170,000 charging ports and stations. The independently owned firm provides level 2 chargers to stores, hotels, restaurants, and even building state-of-art charging stations.
The agreement has been fruitful for both companies, as ChargePoint chargers will be able to use the technology of Beam Global to access locations across the U.S. and Canada where utility-tied units are difficult to set or too expensive.
In return, Beam Global would be able to sell its products to the large customer base of ChargePoint. As for the public and the planet’s welfare, this partnership will bear an emission-free and environmentally safe driving experience.
SEVO Sunstation is a product of Paired Power that has patented solar power technology to provide a clean, 100% renewable energy alternative. These stations are not your typical charging stations; they are parking spaces that offer a completely relaxing experience to electric vehicle drivers.
A single SEVO Sunstation is equipped with solar-powered charging ports, E.V. chargers, shaded parking space, and a mobile-friendly app to book it all.
The next on the list is EVgo Network which is in the same standing as Electrify America. It has also launched its initiative to give public relief from the energy crisis by installing solar-powered charging ports all across the states.
How Does A Solar Panel Provide Energy To A Charging Port?
Although the process of commercializing solar-powered charging stations on a large scale is slowpoke, this is not the case for electric vehicle homeowners. If you own an electric car, you will need a built-in at-home charging port to do overnight charging.
However, getting electricity from the same grid where you get your home electricity would soon empty your pockets. We have observed a prominent trend: most electric vehicle owners have switched to solar energy in their houses. The reason is quite obvious: it provides clean energy and a zero-emission alternative and is a one-time investment, as we have mentioned above.
There are three charging levels for electric vehicle chargers; only the first two can be utilized at home.
The first level is a simple portable charger that can be used in any power socket of 10 amperes; these are also given to the customers as standard chargers. The next is the level 2 chargers, also found in electric car charging stations; these are wall-mounted and compact chargers installed permanently in your homes or workplaces’ parking lots.
Level 3 is roadside D.C. fast charging, which is not as common as level 2, but most big companies like Tesla, Electrify America, and EVgo have spread a network of these ports to accommodate drivers on long routes. This type of charging is fast and pricey, but at least 200 miles are covered in one charge.
Now, how does the whole process take place? How can the sun rays be able to charge a car? Below is the step-by-step process that can clear up the ambiguities you have in mind regarding solar power providing energy to the vehicle.
Step 1: The solar canopy on the roof contains Photovoltaic cells that absorb packets of photons. The sun emits U.V. rays even in snow, so solar panels can also generate electricity in such conditions.
Step 2: The invertor in the solar panel changes the current from direct to Alternating current; now, the electricity is in the right form to be used domestically.
Step 3: Any extra A.C. energy that the electric charger does not use is stored as a backup in a solar battery for later use. Since the charging depends upon the number of solar panels and the materials used to make one, we cannot say a generalized number of panels could help a certain model in charging. Some electric vehicles require 12 panels of solar to charge, while some would require 75 to charge, so the value varies.
Step 4: Since the consumer board is in control of distributing green energy to the domestic areas. Every energy you consume is given to you by the license of this body.
Step 5: Then, the import meter monitors all the used and unused energy to and from the grid. To earn money from solar, you can distribute unused energy.
Pros of Solar Powered Electric Car Charging Stations
There are multiple benefits of having a solar-powered electric car charging station at home:
- Firstly, it adds more value to the property.
- Secondly, the ease of use is very convenient; it is the same as using conventional electricity.
- The solar canopy keeps your house cool, so there are no additional bills for using air conditioners in the summer.
- Lastly, solar panels are a flexible option providing the opportunity to make money.
Cons of Solar Powered Electric Car Charging Stations
Although there are some amazing benefits of having a charging station that is powered by solar energy, here are some minor setbacks in the plan.
- Initial Expenditure of the installation and buying of each panel needs a hefty amount of money; that is an issue with owners of electric vehicles. As they have already invested too much in the car, it isn’t easy to take out money for a new energy system.
- Yet another obstacle is the reliability of a solar system that can charge an electric vehicle. Most solar systems are not equipped to handle electric vehicle charging, but the brands claim they will be able to. In this way, the customers are scammed.
Concluding It All
Electric cars and charging stations are the future of commute. However, we cannot ignore the energy crisis and how we can power these vehicles. A solution that is not only pollution-free but also light on the pocket is the dire need of the hour.
Solar energy is truly remarkable for standalone ports in rural areas and homeowners; it is the best way to reduce electricity bills. The benefits of joining two of the most sought-after energy conservation methods create a massive market buzz. The pros and cons of solar energy cannot be ignored and must be considered when installing a charging station at home.
The companies researching feasible ways solar energy can be commercialized must be appreciated for their effort to bring sustainability into the public’s lifestyle. It won’t be wrong to assume that if the limitations of the scope for such technology are overcome in the future, this would be revolutionary for the world. This would change the way of thinking, and the public will be more accepting of these methods.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.