Biofuels Smart City San Diego & Mayor Jerry Sanders Unveil Completed Solar-To-EV Project At San Diego Zoo

Published on November 30th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


Smart City San Diego & Mayor Jerry Sanders Unveil Completed Solar-To-EV Project At San Diego Zoo

November 30th, 2012 by  

Smart City San Diego and the mayor of San Diego unveiled their completed solar-powered electric vehicle charging project this week.

It is called the “Solar-to-EV” project, and it directly charges electric vehicles in the San Diego Zoo.

Using ten solar canopies, this system generates 90 kW (90,000 watts) of electricity, and then it stores the electricity in a 100kW battery bank. (The system has the electricity generation capacity to power up to 59 homes.) The project also includes 5 electric vehicle charging stations.

This project has unique qualities and benefits.

Even when solar panels are used to charge electric vehicles, which already have their own (usually) lithium-ion batteries, they are usually set up to simply sell their excess solar electricity to utility companies using the common net metering approach. Electric vehicles then draw their current from the electricity grid in the same way that almost everyone else gets their electricity.

One unique quality of this project is that it puts electricity into a battery that supplies the solar power to the electric cars, instead of drawing it from the grid, so the electricity really is coming from solar panels.

Notably, however, when the batteries are completely full, excess electricity is put onto the electric grid, “to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community.”

If you’re curious what Smart City San Diego is, here’s a description from the “Smart City San Diego is a collaboration that combines the resources ofSan Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), City of San Diego, GE, UC San Diegoand CleanTECH San Diego to drive projects forward that improve the region’s energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assert San Diego as a clean energy leader.”

Source: Smart City San Diego

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

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