Greentech Lead U.S: Smart City San
Diego and City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders unveiled
the completed Smart City San Diego Solar-to-EV Project — a
90-kilowatt solar photovoltaic canopy that directly charges 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 to
drive projects forward that improve the region’s energy independence, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and assert San Diego as a clean energy
“The Solar-to-EV project is a cornerstone in
the City of San Diego’s ongoing efforts to usher in sustainable solutions
for Balboa Park in anticipation of the Park’s 2015 Centennial
Celebration,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders, City of San Diego.
“This project will serve as a new energy infrastructure blueprint that can
be replicated throughout the San Diego region and beyond.”
The Solar-to-EV Project harnesses energy from the sun to
directly 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 kilowatts (kW) of electricity —
enough energy at peak capacity to power 59 homes — as well as five EV charging
stations, with one station located in a nearby ADA-accessible parking space.
Using new battery technology, a 100-kW 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.
“California has established the most aggressive
greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals in the nation. With almost 40 percent
of our state’s GHG emissions coming from transportation, clean vehicle
alternatives will be critical to achieving these goals,” said Jim
Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.
The clean energy produced by the Solar-to-EV project is
equivalent to removing 189,216 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
each year, or the same as planting 2,788 trees annually. For additional
comparison, the greenhouse gas emissions savings from the electricity produced
is equivalent to removing 21 cars from the road each year. Furthermore,
PEVs when driven on electricity offer zero tailpipe emissions and no emissions
overall when the electricity is directly from solar power.
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 driven by science and the natural
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