Innovative EV charging system includes solar power, battery energy storage


By: SGN Staff


You may have seen or used an EV charging station at your local store or shopping center. But if you're a customer at Clay Terrace in Carmel, Indiana, you can use what developers call a 'plug-in ecosystem': a combination of traditional and quick charge EV charging stations connected to a rooftop solar panel and battery storage to provide power for nighttime use and cloudy days.


The system is the result of Clay Terrace owner Simon Property Group, Toshiba Corporation, Duke Energy, ITOCHU Corporation, Tom Wood Automotive Group and the state's clean tech initiative Energy Systems Network. They're calling the installations one of the most advanced EV charging stations for plug-in EVs in the world.


Specifically, the plug-in ecosystem comprises a 10-kilowatt roof-mounted solar panel and a Toshiba 75-kilowatt lithium ion battery connected to the charging stations at the shopping center. It is designed to provide efficient load management in the system.


The project is considered a 'real-world' demonstration of smart charging technologies, not a test site. It's connected to the Duke Energy electric grid and considering its location will get plenty of use and, the partners hope, introduce customers to the technology firsthand.


It also provides Duke Energy with a working model of how renewable energy linked to advanced storage technologies can be a practical and useful source of power.


"Innovations in grid energy storage can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of renewable energy usage," said Zachary Kuznar, senior project manager with the Emerging Technology Office at Duke. "The system at Clay Terrace allows to even out the variable solar output, shift energy from off-peak to peak energy usage times and buffer the grid from electric vehicle charging, which can use a substantial amount of energy, particularly with DC quick charging."


At this point, there is no cost for customers to use the charging stations.


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