Articles Archive



Charging Vehicles with Solar Power and Energy Storage


By: John Halliwell
August 2011

There is a strong interest in coupling renewable energy resources with electric vehicle charging.  EPRI is working with utility collaborators to develop system designs for just such facilities.  The initial EPRI effort was completed in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in consultation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  The outcome of this initial work was a base design for a solar assisted charging station with battery storage. Within the TVA territory, these charging stations will be deployed under the name Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal or SMART Station.  EPRI has been expanding the effort to include other collaborating utilities.

Study details can be found in EPRI report 1020782: Tennessee Valley Authority Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal (SMART) Station Project: Vol 1 - Base Design Report.

Station Concept

The basic concept of the SMART Station is to combine vehicle charging and stationary battery storage with a parking canopy covered with photovoltaic cells. Each system is tied directly to the electricity grid to provide for maximum flexibility in selection of both the technologies used and the sizing of the system elements.  The battery system requires a climate-controlled space that can be provided by a dedicated storage building or with cabinetry at the site.

Station Concept
Station Concept
Station Concept

Each of the system elements can be scaled as needed for a particular site application.  The cost of the system is primarily determined by the size of the solar array and the amount of battery storage.  Battery storage systems require a climate-controlled space, which adds significant cost.  The size of the solar array, the number of vehicle charging stations, and their current capacity of these elements is scalable independently of the size of the canopy.

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