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90 kW solar-to-EV project in San Diego Zoo completed

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.


Dave R

Each of the charging stations is 30A capable - depending if they are hooked up to 208 or 240V, 5 stations would be a maximum of 31-36 kW. During the day if the sun is out, the PV system should provide more than enough power to charge all cars that are charging and the storage system is big enough to continue charging cars into the early evening.

Each canopy has conduit run so that 2 stations can be placed under each one even though only 4 are currently installed, so if demand is there it will be trivial to add up to 20 charging stations down the road.

Good stuff!


The problem with solar is that no one owns the sun. The owners of the country are not going to be happy. Expect their representatives in congress to beat us about the head for our insolence. I think we'll be lucky if they don't just fire the country for this one.


I wonder how many regular 240V chargers they could have installed if they had omitted the solar panels?.. enough for all the parking spots in the Zoo?



"The beatings will continue until moral has improved".

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