Smart city data reflects San Diego EV market, attitudes

Smart City San Diego, which launched its Solar-to-EV project — one of the first of its kind in the world — in September 2012, has now released usage data collected at the EV charging stations since November 2012. As part of the electric vehicle (EV) project, five solar-to-EV charging stations were located at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park where they used the sun’s energy to directly charge plug-in EVs, store solar power for future use, and provide renewable energy to the surrounding area.

The usage data shows a steady increase in electricity consumed, number of cars using the stations, and how often the stations are in use.  In fact, charging at the stations more than doubled from the first half of the pilot to the second half, with the amount of cars using the station over the same time periods increased 72 percent, indicating that driver awareness of the stations has increased.

The Zoo’s solar charging stations were provided through a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), who owns and manages the project, and CleanTECH San Diego. As part of the pilot, the partners provide education and information on sustainable energy generation to park guests. For example, onsite and online displays educate visitors about the usefulness of batteries that can store solar energy, the benefits of driving EVs, and the role that the system plays in driving sustainability forward.

The site at the San Diego Zoo incorporates 10 solar canopies producing 90 kW of electricity, as well as five EV charging stations. Using new battery technology, a 100-kW/100-kWh energy storage system is charged by the solar canopies and used to balance sunlight intermittency on overcast days. The storage system offsets power demands on the grid, especially during peak hours, to charge the vehicles. When the battery is full, the excess solar energy that is generated is put onto the electric grid to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community.

“Our goal with pilot projects like this one is to deploy new clean technologies, see how people use and respond to them, and replicate successful case studies across the region and the world,” said Jason Anderson, CleanTECH San Diego president. “The popularity of the Solar-to-EV charging stations at the Zoo has proven San Diego’s leadership in the EV market and supports a greater mission of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating the clean transportation economy.”

The data collected as part of Smart City San Diego is reflective of an overall increase in EV sales and drivers across San Diego area. With nearly 10,000 EV drivers and counting in the SDG&E service area, EV sales are up 130 percent this year over last. The Solar-to-EV charging stations at the San Diego Zoo make up five of the 670 public charging stations throughout the region.

For more:
– see this fact sheet

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