Solar Charging Station for Electric Vehicles

July 29, 2015
Poster Session — President’s Hall 2
4:00 pm  -  7:00 pm

Over the past decade there has been an increase in sales of electric vehicles. Despite this trend, the availability of charging stations to service these vehicles is still lacking. Installation of charging stations at workplaces provides a convenient temporal coincidence between consumer demand and the availability of the solar resource. In this paper we discuss an undergraduate research project aimed at the design and planning of a solar carport that has been proposed for installation at a university campus in northeastern Pennsylvania.

To determine the best site for this carport an Android application called Solar Survey was used. This application maps the local horizon, the effect of shading, and the optimum tilt for the array. Using this shading data with the System Advisor Model (SAM) provides an estimate of how much irradiance will be captured by a solar collector. Additionally, SAM’s financial analysis module can be used to determine the likely cost savings associated with the solar system. Preliminary structural design on the carport structure was performed. Economic comparisons were made between the use of standard supports or recycled materials. This installation provides an incentive for adoption of electric vehicles among faculty and students by providing a free-of-charge power source for vehicle charging.

This project was found to be well suited to undergraduate independent research, and we hope that similar applications of these techniques may help introduce solar charging stations at other campus locations.