Smart City San Diego and City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders unveiled the completed Smart City San Diego Solar-to-EV Project—a 90kW solar photovoltaic canopy that directly charges up to 5 electric vehicles (EVs) in the San Diego Zoo parking lot.
Smart City San Diego is a collaboration that combines the resources of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), City of San Diego, GE, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego.
The Solar-to-EV Project harnesses energy from the sun directly to charge plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), store solar power for future use and provide renewable energy to the electrical grid. The project incorporates 10 solar canopies producing 90 kW of electricity as well as five EV charging stations, with one station located in a nearby ADA-accessible parking space. A 100kW energy storage system is charged by the solar canopies and used to offset power demands on the grid 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. The solar canopies also provide shade to approximately 50 cars in the Zoo’s southeast parking area.
The project not only aims to encourage EV drivers to visit the Zoo and Balboa Park, but also provides displays onsite and online to educate visitors about the role that the system plays in driving sustainability forward. The system and its educational tools are part of the Zoo’s goals to encourage the application of sustainable design.
The Solar-to-EV project is owned and managed by SDG&E’s Sustainable Communities Program, which promotes local solar installations and green building design and construction throughout the region. The charging stations are part of The EV Project and are owned by the program’s administrator.