German manufacturer of solar PV systems, Solarwatt, has linked with UK transport infrastructure and engineering company Centregreat Group to develop a solar-powered EV carport with a built-in battery pack.
Courtesy of Solarwatt
The off-the-shelf structure’s tough, integrated panels charge up to four vehicles in daylight hours. The high-capacity battery packs in the central cabinet can be recharged at times of low demand, when electricity is produced mainly from low-carbon sources – this also increases load-balancing capacity for users with a poor grid connection.
The all-in-one concept dispenses with separate containerised batteries, enabling designers to focus on aesthetics as well as productivity while freeing up space for parking. It was developed by South Wales-based Centregreat, with help from Swansea University’s solar-focused SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre. Installations will be undertaken by SolarCentric, Centregreat’s solar and battery design and installation associate.
Aimed primarily at business and public-sector clients such as local authorities, hospitals and park-and-ride facilities, the T-shaped carport is adaptable for domestic and other markets. An open day at SolarCentric’s Cardiff headquarters attracted strong interest from potential clients.
Solarwatt’s high-yield solar PV panels are embedded in airport canopies, personal-transport shelters and an EV-charging park at the Bavarian headquarters of the auto components manufacturer Dräxlmaier Group. In October its Vision 60M panels were certified in Germany as a construction material.
EVs are increasingly popular, with demand more than doubling over the last year following some £54 billion of industry investment in 2019 alone, according to the automotive retail body SMMT. As demand for charging rises to accommodate the Government’s Net Zero target, energy and transport markets will prioritise innovation and design, according to Solarwatt and Centregreat – which works with numerous UK public bodies on lighting, traffic signals and telematics, bridges and structures, rail infrastructure and smart roadside technology.
The double-pitch prototype is equipped with integrated Solarwatt Vision 36M glass-glass modules, tested to the highest industry standards and carrying 30-year product and performance warranties and free Full-Cover insurance.
The design requires minimal civil engineering below ground and will be delivered and installed in modular form, reducing cost, disruption and downtime. Future variants could include surface mounting, using either framed glass-glass or standard foil modules.
“On-site EV charging is the obvious answer for organisations as they embrace net zero while looking to improve efficiency” said Neal Goddard, Solarwatt Sales Manager, UK. “Solarwatt has established a strong position internationally in carport charging due to our performance, advanced glass-glass technology and robust construction. Centregreat is recognised for delivering transport solutions and we look forward to working with them.”
Jeff Jenkins, Estate Manager, Centregreat, added that the carports feature the practical innovation valued by organisations demanding innovation and sustainability as well as efficiency and that by incorporating robust, high-yield solar panels and battery storage, they will help users and their visitors play their part in decarbonising the UK economy.