Three free solar-powered recharging stations for electric vehicles, provided by Envision Solar of San Diego, are coming to San Francisco in 2015 thanks to a grant from the 11th Hour Project, whose mission is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate the production and adoption of renewable energy.
Some pooh pooh electric cars because the electricity can come from pollution-spewing coal-fired generating plants. Even though our political leaders seem to think there is nothing wrong with filling our skies with crud from coal plants, most people over the age of 10 know better.
Each Envision solar charging station is self-contained and requires no connection to the local grid. It is built on a Ballast Traction Pad — a base heavy enough to withstand winds up to 120 mph — and has a solar array that follows the sun to maximize energy collection. The base also serves as a parking area for cars being recharged. Installation involves simply setting a station down in a suitable area and deploying the solar array, much the way a satellite deploys its solar collectors once in orbit.
Envision Solar CEO Desmond Wheatley tells CNET the solar panels used are the most efficient available. Each solar recharging station has a Level 2 charger and can generate up to 3.3 kilowatts of electricity. A built-in lithium-ion battery pack module can store up to 22.5 kWh of electricity. Wheatley said each station generates enough electricity every day for 100 miles of electric driving.
Using the solar-powered charging stations was the idea of Charge Across Town, a local nonprofit whose mission is “to help reduce carbon emissions in the San Francisco bay area and California by collaborating with city governments, local businesses and the electric vehicle community, to connect people to electric transportation options, promote the adoption of electric vehicles and e-mobility solutions, and advocate for broader and renewable EV charging stations.”
The Envision Solar charging stations will be located at The Stonestown Galleria Mall parking lot, the public parking lot at Embarcadero and Green Street and a City CarShare lot at 17th and Shotwell Streets. During the period of the demonstration program, which goes through the end of 2015, electric car owners will be able to plug in for free Level 2 charging.