The Solar-to-EV project, which began construction on September 4, will directly charge plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), store solar power for future use, and provide renewable energy to the surrounding community. Located at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, the Solar-to-EV project will serve as a new energy infrastructure blueprint that can be replicated in other communities.
Jim Avery, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) senior vice president of power supply, explains, “Experts say that by 2020 we could see more than 200,000 plug-in EVs in our region. The Zoo has been forward-thinking about creating a sustainable future for our children to enjoy, so collaborating on this solar project was a natural fit. It will demonstrate new technology, and provide guests with a way to charge their EVs with clean energy while they visit the Zoo.”
The project will incorporate 10 solar canopies producing 90 kilowatts (kW) of electricity along with five EV charging stations. A 100-kW energy storage system will be charged by the solar canopies and used to offset power demands on the grid to charge the vehicles. According to SDG&E, “When the battery is full, the excess solar energy that is generated will be put onto the electric grid to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community. The solar canopies also provide shade to approximately 50 cars in the Zoo’s southeast parking area. At peak production, the Solar-to-EV project will produce enough energy to power 59 homes. The clean energy produced is equivalent to removing 189,216 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, or the same as planting 2,788 trees annually.”
The Solar-to-EV project will also provide displays onsite and online to educate visitors about the usefulness of batteries that can store solar energy, the benefits of driving EVs, and the role that the system plays in driving sustainability forward.
The project will be owned and managed by SDG&E’s Sustainable Communities Program.
Smart City San Diego is a collaboration between the City of San Diego, SDG&E, GE, UC San Diego, and CleanTECH San Diego. For more information, visit www.SmartCitySD.org.