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Envision Solar Makes EV Charging Sustainable and Semi-Portable

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【Summary】The EV charging systems are suitable for supporting municipal fleets and remote regions with limited access to the local grid.

Michael Cheng    Nov 28, 2017 6:50 PM PT
Envision Solar Makes EV Charging Sustainable and Semi-Portable

Driving an EV is an effective way to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. However, at the end of the day, the cars have to recharge, which is facilitated by the local grid.

An innovative solution to this issue is combining solar technology with EV charging. California-based Envision Solar is currently leading this trend with the Solar EV ARC station. The EV charging hub incorporates PV panels and large batteries into the units, resulting in complete disconnection from the grid.  

Solar EV Charging Station

The Solar EV ARC charging station is offered in a range of configurations, depending on the needs of the customer. For instance, the company sells a unit equipped with a 4.1 kW solar array and a 30 kWh power cell. The panels are located above the vehicle, which also doubles as a cooling shield for parked EVs.

For optimized charging, the solar array is equipped with a tracker. The robust component automatically adjusts the angle of the panels, based on the position of the sun.

"Because the product requires no trenching, foundations or installation work of any kind, it is deployed in minutes and can be moved to a new location with ease," said Michael Bates from NGT News.

Bates further explained that the charging systems are suitable for remote regions with limited access to the local grid. In those cases, trenching projects for running underground cables are very costly.

Another use for the Solar EV ARC is servicing in temporary military camps and commercial, marine-based ports. In the future, fleets in such locations will be electrified, which requires constant recharging.

Each station cost $57,000 to purchase. Individuals and businesses can curb costs via federal tax credits (qualification required). From another perspective, the system is capable of paying for itself over time. Operating costs are minimal, as upkeep is mostly focused on battery replacement and PV maintenance.

Deployment in Urban Locations

Envision Solar is marketing the Solar EV ARC to cities and government fleets. The business recently completed a deal with the City of Pittsburgh for an order of five charging stations. At the moment, the city is operating a municipal fleet consisting of 10 EVs. It plans to expand the fleet in the near future.  

For reliable operation, the EV charging station can be connected to the local grid. In such configurations, stored energy from the power cell is only used during an emergency, such as grid failure during stormy weather.

"In Pittsburgh we are working to achieve long-term environmental health through wise stewardship, improved use of our resources and reducing our carbon footprint. Adding the Envision Solar EV ARC emissions-free charging station to the electric vehicle fleet is one more step on our journey towards making Pittsburgh 100% renewable," said Mayor William Peduto.

In the statement, Mayor Peduto was referring to the city's transition to go fully renewable by 2035, via a combination of solar and wind energy.

Outside of Pittsburgh, Envision Solar's charging hubs can be found in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego.

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