Many of those who live in apartment complexes in the San Francisco area will soon have access to solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations (equipped with battery storage) thanks to a new initiative put together by a startup named Powertree Services, which is utilizing Panasonic batteries.
As per the new program, 68 apartment building complexes throughout San Francisco will be outfitted with solar charging stations — with parking spaces and roofs for said purposes being rented by the company.
Given the potential barrier that living in an apartment has on EV ownership, the initiative makes a lot of sense. And given that a good deal more than half of San Francisco’s residents are renters, many who live in apartments, there likely is a decent market there. Whether this market can be captured or not by this specific initiative is of course a different question. But it seems like a very attractive proposition.
The buildings incorporating the service will rent a number of parking spaces in the garage to Powertree Services, which will provide level-two EV-charging. Space will also be rented on the buildings’ roofs and outfitted with solar panels. This power will then feed into lithium-ion battery packs that power the aforementioned chargers.
The landlords pay nothing themselves and simply get a new cash stream — no doubt a strong selling point.
Tenants will reportedly pay a flat fee for the use of the chargers, but that fee has not been made public.
Furthermore, they will be able to use the company’s chargers in other buildings in the city if they wish, which is both helpful for charging and finding a parking space!
All in all, this looks like an excellent idea that will help to address one of the biggest barriers (if not the biggest) to broader electric vehicle adoption: apartment dwellers not having a place to charge overnight. (The other big barrier in our minds is simply EV awareness, and that is also partially addressed by rolling out options like these.)
Here are some more details via the company itself:
- Flat rate “all you can eat” charging services for all current plug-in vehicles at ⅓ or less than the cost of gasoline. (BMW, Tesla, Nissan, Smart, Fiat, Chevy, Ford, Mercedes, etc.)
- Generates on-site renewable electricity for your tenants or building use creating savings for the tenant and rent + value for the owner.
- Provides all needed management and customer services so you don’t have to.
- Pays rent and is zero money out of pocket for the property owner.
- Increases safety of building with optional off-grid backup power.
- Complies with new (2014) and future state laws mandating plug-in vehicle charging support.
- Supports a cleaner, less expensive, and more reliable power grid.
Panasonic’s project manager, Jon Ethington, commented that the integration of the charging stations with solar generation and battery storage “has multiple benefits for every stakeholder, be it EV customers, the building owner, or the utility.”
Well said. That seems to be the takeaway, that an approach such as this — where all the participants seem to benefit — is likely to have a future.
Image Credit: Powertree Services
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