Brightfield's Solar Driven charging stations generate clean electricity, feed the grid, and charge electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles have the potential to greatly reduce both local air pollution, given that they have zero tailpipe emissions, and lower regional and global greenhouse gas emissions, due their non-reliance on burning fossil fuels.
However, and it's a pretty big however, only by connecting renewable energy sources to charging stations can electric vehicles truly be zero emissions transportation, and although we're starting to see a lot more charging stations popping up along roads and parking lots, solar chargers are still in their infancy. One company making moves toward a more sustainable transport sector is Brightfield, which is said to be "the only electric vehicle charging station developer with a patented grid-connected system for integrating generation, storage and delivery of solar power to automobiles.”
Brightfield's Solar Driven charging stations are made up of the company's Charging Bollards, each of which can accommodate up to three Level 2 EV chargers, which hold up the solar canopy that is covered with panels. The smallest size is the T1, which features 8 solar panels (2.4 kilowatts of solar-generating capacity) on a single bollard, which the company says is big enough to supply about year's worth of driving:
“All it takes be Solar Driven® is eight solar panels per electric vehicle. Eight solar panels will provide 15,000 miles of solar fuel annually. Put a Brightfield® Charging Station in your parking lot and you’ve got the equivalent of an oil well, refinery and gas station providing clean, abundant, locally-sourced energy.”
The T2 model sits on two charging bollards, but the solar array, which is supported by both, has more than double the solar capacity as the T1 for between 6.6 and 9.9 kilowatts of capacity. Larger installations can use the T3 (up to 15.3 kW), the T4 (19.8 kW), or additional bollards and canopies to accommodate more charging stations and more solar capacity.
The Brightfield solutions aren't directly channeling solar electricity into your battery, as they are grid-tied solar arrays and they feed the electric grid all day long, but then again, most home solar arrays do the same exact thing, as that provides a steady and reliable electricity supply 24/7 without having to install a big battery system for storage. The systems can also be installed in stages, with the charging bollards installed first and the solar array added later, and the company also offers a DC Fast Charger option as well, which can greatly reduce the charging time - to as little as 30 minutes for a full charge.
“The shift to electric transportation is happening. This is the moment to install the solar infrastructure needed to fuel American transportation. Being Solar Driven® is being energy independent and eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions produced by our cars. Now is the time to leapfrog fossil fuels and drive on sunshine.” - Brightfield
The Solar Driven charging stations can be designed with custom colors or branding if desired, which may appeal to businesses looking to attract customers with electric vehicle chargers and a covered solar canopy, or perhaps to complement outlet malls and big box stores with a clean refueling option for their customers.
As for me, once I hit the jackpot, I'd probably pair a solar charging station with one of these, because what's even cooler than an electric roadster? A solar-charged electric roadster, that's what.