Tennessee to Test Solar Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

January 19, 2010

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced on January 15 that they will test and deploy solar-assisted charging stations for electric vehicles across Tennessee as part of one of the largest electric transportation projects in U.S. history. The first prototype, a four to six parking “space” charging station, will use solar-generated electricity will be tested at EPRI’s Laboratories for Electric Transportation Application in Knoxville this spring. A second prototype will be built in Oak Ridge. The prototypes will be tested for three to six months before expanding and constructing additional stations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville over the next few years.

This regional initiative is in conjunction with the Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation, e-Tec, which has received DOE funding to accelerate the development and production of electric vehicles in several states. DOE also is providing funding to Oak Ridge for its involvement in the solar-assisted charging station project. The solar-assisted charging stations will use the sun to generate power needed to offset the charge of the electric vehicles during peak power demand periods. While vehicles are charging, the stationary batteries and smart grid controls will provide additional localized support to mitigate any impacts on the power system. See the TVA January 15 press release.