Meeting the Growing Energy Demands of Electric Vehicles
With nearly 280 million cars on the road throughout the United States and as many as two billion parking spots across the nation, you could say the potential in the solar carport market is more than plentiful. According to the International Energy Agency, we can expect to have at least 145 million electric vehicles (EV) on the road by 2030. While that’s exciting, you may be wondering how are we going to charge all of those electric vehicles?
There are a few ways that you can go about charging your vehicle at home where 80% of EV owners choose to fill up. When you first purchase your vehicle you will see that it comes with a power cord that you can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet at home. This is called Level 1 charging. It is the slowest charging option for your vehicle and could take between 8-12 hours to get a depleted battery to 100%. Level 2 charging uses a higher-output 240-volt outlet such as the one your dryer plugs into. Generally, they come with a charging unit that mounts onto a wall. These typically take between 4-6 hours to take a depleted battery to a full charge. Level 2 charging stations are often what you will find in solar carports that include electric vehicle charging.
What is a Solar Carport?
Solar carports offer versatility, clean energy, and convenience. A solar carport is a covered parking area with a canopy designed out of solar panels. Many solar carports also integrate Level 2 charging stations. They can be designed for a single parking lot or large commercial lots like the one Positive Energy installed for the Department of Transportation in Santa Fe, pictured below.
This 398 kilowatt DC system produced 702,514kWh in its first year of production! That’s the equivalent of planting 610 acres of U.S. forest in one year. Imagine incorporating solar carports into every parking lot in New Mexico and around the world-- what a difference that would make for reducing greenhouse gas emissions!
If the electric vehicle industry is to succeed the way we hope, the infrastructure for charging must lead, not follow.
The Evolution of Transportation Infrastructure
We can look to history to see how infrastructure evolves to meet the needs for efficient transportation. Ford Motor Company first started selling the Model T in 1908. The Model T was the first car to become widely available thanks to the innovation of mass manufacturing by Ford. It also led the way in the development of gas stations.
You can imagine that if cars were going to replace the horse and buggy, a lot of people were wondering where they could travel to and how they would get their fuel along the way. It’s the same question that we ask now with over a hundred million EVs on the horizon. Early on in the release of the Model T, drivers would have to visit a local general store, fill a container with gasoline, and then funnel the gasoline from the container into the gas tank that was located under the Model T’s front seat cushion. Eventually, enough people realized that this was unsustainable and entrepreneurs began buying gasoline wholesale and setting up gas pumps along sidewalks and roadways. This would evolve into oil producers eventually setting up national gas station chains just like the ones we see today.
The Benefits of Solar Carports
One of the great convenience factors of solar carports however is that they do not require additional land. Remember the two billion parking spaces across the country? That’s prime real estate that can serve two functions as a place to leave your car and charge your car. Imagine an already-existing carport providing you with clean energy and powering your vehicle for the next time you need to hit the road. Imagine that same carport saving you or your business money from rising electricity costs.
With a mixture of parking lot carports and rooftop solar, seven Walmarts throughout California added 6.5 megawatts of solar energy to their operations. Solar carports are fantastic for powering your business with clean energy, reducing your business’s carbon footprint, and saving money in the long run. Plus, consumers love to see a business committed to sustainability. Take a look at a few more of the solar carports we’ve installed for businesses and organizations throughout the Land of Enchantment.
Solar carport at Tomasitas restaurant, Santa Fe
Solar carport at Las Cruces Aquatic Center
Solar carport at East Mesa public safety complex, Las Cruces
Solar Carport Installation in New Mexico
Whether at home or in your company parking lot, solar carports with EV charging are invaluable to meeting the needs of our new way of transportation, clean electric vehicles. These multifaceted solar structures are an expansion of clean energy, which is vital for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the betterment of our environment for future generations.
Are you interested in taking advantage of this technology and installing a solar carport at your home or business? We are here to be of service. Contact us today for a free solar consultation and learn how we can incorporate electric vehicle charging stations into your solar project.