Getting EV chargers functioning quickly means turning to off-grid setups

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The demand for transportation electrification has never been greater, but the process of interconnecting the necessary energy generation systems to the grid is often a long and difficult one.

Whether solar projects, EV chargers, or energy storage systems, utilities Evaluate individual energy project sites Determine if your grid needs an upgrade to accommodate the added capacity.

A person plugs an electric car charger into a truck parked under a canopy of solar panels.

Yotta Energy has entered the off-grid EV charging space with REV.Yotta Energy

Tom McCalmont, CEO of Paired Power, which makes off-grid EV chargers, said: “Now there is a lot of interest in full electrification across the country, and politicians are finally excited about it, but they don’t understand electricity very well and they don’t realize the demands it puts on the grid. not.”

a study A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that by the end of 2021, more than 600 GW of solar and 400 GW of energy storage projects were stuck waiting to be interconnected. We go through a similar interconnection process, but it can take months or years to complete.

“It’s a difficult process, especially in California,” McAlmont said. “A company that wants to install 10 or 20 of his EV chargers in California will usually need a new service drop from the utility because the capacity of the existing service drop is not large enough. , that’s a two-year wait.”

However, by combining solar, storage, and EV chargers (each of which has a long interconnect queue) into a single off-grid system, we can avoid interconnects entirely.

All-in-one off-grid EV charger

Manufacturers have recognized the need for public EV charging and have developed packaged solutions for manufacturing turnkey off-grid EV chargers. These units come with solar panels, inverters, battery storage, EV chargers, and support structures, and can often be disassembled and rearranged. And if your system is off the grid, you don’t have to wait for utility approval.

Campbell, California-based Paired Power is a pioneer in off-grid EV technology, manufacturing solar-powered EV charging solutions since 2015, and the hardware used in hundreds of projects.Its latest off-grid product is pair treeis a pop-up solar canopy that uses a 5 kW bifacial solar module, a 40 kWh battery, a stable base or ground screw, and Paired Power’s proprietary charger, the SunStation.

“The pop-up sides allow workers to stand on the ground and build it, but they can lift it,” says McCalmont. “One of the challenges with traditional solar canopies,” he said, “is that workers have to go up and down on scissor lifts all day. and you won’t even need a lift.”

The inverter, battery and charger are housed in a metal enclosure. SunStation has his two models, SunStation HPC (High Power Charger) and SunStation Level 2 Charger. The HPC is a direct DC, 60 kW EV charger that installs in your carport or ground-mounted solar project. Also, a Level 2 charger comes standard with PairTree.

A compact car is parked under a small solar canopy and fitted with an electric car charger.

Paired Power’s PairTree is a solar canopy and off-grid EV charger all in one.paired forces

box power Another turnkey off-grid EV charger supplier in Grass Valley, California. It started as a Princeton University research project exploring alternatives to diesel generators.

“We thought we would be operating in locations with unreliable power grids internationally, but then wildfires and PSPS (Public Safety Power Outage) events made it particularly hard for us to operate. In California, where we are located, we quickly realized there was a huge need in the country, said Anderson Barkow, co-founder and CFO of BoxPower.

The company manufactures prefabricated portable off-grid power plants built inside shipping containers. This helps simplify transportation and modular design. These solar + storage shipping containers can also be equipped with EV chargers.

The four main components of BoxPower’s EV charger are the solar panel, the battery, the inverter, and the charger itself. Modules can be mounted in a single pitch or dual tilt in a rack mounted in a shipping container. BoxPower can link multiple containers to meet increasing energy demands. The system is equipped with software that allows operators to remotely monitor and control the system.

Energy storage manufacturer Yotta Energy is also entering the off-grid EV charging space with REVs.

Yotta Energy CEO Omeed Badkoobeh said: “It started as a side project. We said, ‘There aren’t many people active in this space and it seems like a pretty potential market opportunity.'”

The REV is available in two models, the REV Core and the REV Core XL, each capable of mounting bifacial solar modules from 15 to 34 kW and lithium iron phosphate batteries from 50 to 300 kWh. Each uses a 24 kW EV charger, allowing the Core to charge up to 240 miles and the Core XL to charge up to 510 miles daily.

The solar modules are mounted in a “butterfly” design, with two sections of the panel sloping upward in an east-west direction from either side of the charger. This ensures a more consistent power production throughout the day instead of peaking at noon. Additionally, the REV has access panels with outlets for 50 amp emergency backup power.

There are other companies like this beam global Producing off-grid EV charging solutions with solar power, the space is expanding with new entries from Paired Power, Yotta Energy and BoxPower.

Where do you need off-grid EV charging?

BoxPower manufactures off-grid EV chargers built into shipping power

There are many use cases for off-grid EV charging. There are certainly remote customers who want to build charging infrastructure where there is no grid support. Business owners who lease commercial buildings can also use off-grid charging. This is because we may not be able to add a permanent charging station and the electric trenches it requires.

In either case, the off-grid permitting process is likely much easier than trying to connect the charger to the grid.

“In many installations, it’s ‘very little,’ and probably none at all,” said McCalmont of Paired Power. “Certainly in rural areas. Normally, many AHJs do not require a permit if it is a temporary structure, i.e. if it is designed to be removed or can be removed. So I know it’s not so liberal, they probably want a streamlined permitting process that looks like it’s structured.”

By avoiding interconnect queues and associated costs, off-grid EV chargers can become much more affordable. Ampcontrol, an EV charging optimization software developer, Estimate It costs about $1,000 to connect 1 kW of charging capacity to the grid. This is on top of the cost of the charger itself.

To recoup costs, some off-grid charger owners are choosing to monetize their charging services. However, other customers who install these chargers in remote areas without grid infrastructure, such as municipalities and national parks, typically offer charging for free, according to the manufacturer.

As EVs grow in popularity, both off-grid and grid-connected chargers will be required to meet demand. Solar + storage technology will definitely play a role in its construction.

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