Australia Launches First Solar-Powered EV Charging Station
The launch of a 45kW “car shade” installation in NSW coastal shire of Ballina off the southern part of Byron Bay in Australia also inaugurated the first solar-powered public electric vehicle (EV) charging station in the continent.
Set up at Knockrow tourist attraction of Macadamia Castle, the PV/EV charging station is known to be the first on the Pacific Highway. Moreover, on the Far North Coast, it is considered one of the biggest solar installations.
The 45kW solar system was built by Smart Commercial Solar and highlights 180 PV panels structured on a purpose-built car port. This solar installation will produce energy for half of Macadamia Castle and at the same time, power up electric-run vehicles of visitors.
Tony Gilding, owner of Macadamia Castle, initially thought of placing solar panels on the castle roofs, but the surrounding trees made it difficult to do so. As a substitute, Smart Commercial Solar suggested a solar car park to provide “car shade” for visitor’s electric vehicles, along with the installation of an EV charging station.
According to Gilding, the solar car park was something he thought of instantly since it can be structured in the most feasible location where the sun’s energy can be most maximised. It invites strong business potential aside from environmental benefits.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye, who was at the launch, is one with Gilding’s brilliant idea of utilizing solar energy through these charging stations. He referred to the project as Australia’s example for green economy in the future. He added that over the 50 years, solar panels and EVs make a perfect match in enhancing the energy systems.
It is noted that solar carports in Australia are yet to kick start in the business solar market while in the US, more than 100MW solar carports were already set up for four years now. The US was expected to add more than 180MW solar carports last year compared to 157MW in 2013 according to Greentech Media Research. This could generate an increase of almost $850 million in the solar market in a span of two years.
The decrease in PV prices and a change in the structure of such types of solar installations are the main reasons for the boom of the US market, considering that different sectors of society are more inclined to saving on their electricity bills.
Scott Moskowitz, author of the GTM report, commented that developers of commercial solar systems could leverage on increased customer value through larger solar projects and bigger energy savings given the decrease in market price of solar carports.
Another one to follow suit in solar panel installation this year is a transport and logistics company in Switzerland, Galliker Transport. The firm installed a solar rooftop system, structured in 2721-module grid-connected roofing, intended to shelter 2000 electric vehicles while generating 544,900 kWh of electricity. This means close to 720 MWh in the first full year, covering 100% of the energy requirements of the building.