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Cars Power Electronics new EV Charging Station. Credit Charles Thurston

Published on September 29th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston


@SPI2019: Storage Plus EV Charging Leads Innovations

September 29th, 2019 by  

The Solar Power International trade show is the largest in the country, and this year was dominated by new entrants in the solar+EV storage category amidst many other ingenious technological advancements in the industry. As such, energy storage represents the plus in the solar+ label, and additional developments like EV charging represent what the industry is now calling Solar++.

Held this past week in Salt Lake City for the first time, the show claimed to entertain some 19,000 attendees in the city’s majestic Salt Palace, located in the heart of the downtown area. The opening show speeches and discussions centered around the long term potential for the solar industry growth, and around the short-term promise of more energy storage and EV charging systems.

An interesting and popular feature of the show was a fleet of EVs from all the major manufacturers — yes, Tesla was there — parked alongside the Salt Palace for attendee test drives. The lines got long at times, but the test drives continued throughout the show.

Among the many that were launched at the show were those of startup companies and those of large well-established companies with deep pockets. The former products were visually stunning, while the latter emphasized warranties, reliability and longevity. Such is the solar industry.

The displayed systems that I managed to visit were the following, in alphabetical order. Several are omitted for the lack of time to cruise the 700 exhibits on the show floor during the three days the exhibits are open:

Internationally diverse ABB partnered with Lindon, Utah-based Humless to launch the Universal 10/4 Residential Storage System, with 10.4 kWh, running the 48 volt Humless energy management system and the 3.4 kW ABB residential inverter. The 10kW lithium iron phosphate battery system is designed as plug-and-play, takes AC or DC input, and is stackable for expansion up to 90 kWh.

BYD North America:
Los Angeles-based BYD North America showed off its Battery-Box HV, which comes in a range of sizes up to 10.2 kWh using lithium iron phosphate batteries, which present a lower danger of fire risk than standard lithium-ion batteries. The system is designed for stackable modules to accommodate expansion up to 40kWh, and can be installed indoors or outdoors.

Delta Americas: (photo)
The Fremont-California based Delta Americas residential storage and EV charging station system is new, but the company is decades old with billions of dollars in sales from automotive parts and other electronics components. The new Level 2 system sports either AC or DC connections, multiple communications platforms, cloud and wired data transfer, and a battery output of 5,000 watts driven by lithium-ion batteries that can deliver up to 20 kW/h.

Paired Power:
Campbell, California-based Paired Power offered its patented SEVO SunStation, a solar carport canopy that uses DC power to charge EVs directly from sunlight. The system can provide up to 16.8 kW during the day, with up to six chargers under the canopy, which covers six parking spaces. The charges are designed to cover a 42-mile daily commute.

Power Electronics:
Liria, Spain-based Power Electronics featured its NUBE charging station for multiple vehicle charging in residential or commercial settings. The system features fast charging at up to 150kW in DC mode for ultra-fast charging for a 100 kilometer range charge in less than 10 minutes, but offers multiple charging speeds for energy efficiency. The system accommodates credit cards or RFID cards for commercial applications.

Smartflower Solar:
Boston-based Smartflower Solar unveiled its new residential solar tracker that now includes a charging station, thanks to a partnership with NEC Energy Solutions, which supplies the batteries. The windmill-shaped flower design yields up to 5.5 kWh of charging energy.

Span IO:
San Francisco-based SpanIO offered a sleek new battery storage and EV control system panel that replaces the standard home electrical panel to become the new center for connected power in the home. The system, which can be controlled by smart handheld devices, provides all the safety features of a standard panel but with added functionality and aesthetics designed for the modern home.

Apart from these hardware and software providers, a substantial number of other EV charging players participated in presentations, speeches, posters and other communication during SPI. Among these were EZ-EV, Electric Highway, GreenFlux Assets, EV Connect, Smart Electric Power Alliance, and of course, SEIA.

In its overview presentations, SEIA pointed out that the cost of lithium batteries has fallen 85% over the last 8 years, as manufacturing scale has mushroomed. This has helped energy storage for residential, commercial and industrial, and utility-scale storage take off this year. 


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About the Author

Charles specializes in renewable energy, from finance to technological processes. Among key areas of focus are bifacial panels and solar tracking. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years, living and working in locations ranging from Brazil to Papua New Guinea.

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