CODA Deploys First Solar EV Charging Station Optimized by Energy Storage in San Francisco

A mock-up of a solar-powered EV charging station | Image credit: Autoblog Green

CODA Energy has partnered with Energy Vault and Growing Energy Labs (GELI), to deploy the first Eco-Station, a solar integrated electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging station optimized by energy storage, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CODA says the charging station will incorporate a 175 kW solar array, DC fast charging, a 40kWh CODA Core UDP energy storage system, and GELI's intelligent Energy Operating System (EOS) software.

DC charging refuels a typical EV battery in 30-60 minutes and improves the usability of EVs by extending their effective range and enabling road trips. However, CODA says these stations require high quantities of power to operate, which is expensive to run during peak hours and can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per month.

The new Eco-Station contains a battery energy storage system (ESS) that mitigates this problem by serving as a buffer between the charger and the grid, lowering the charging station's peak power demand. CODA says the addition of GELI's intelligent Energy Operating System (EOS) software will enable the Eco-Station to make operational decisions based on the price of power and energy, which in conjunction with demand response programs could bring site operators new sources of revenue.

"As is the case in California, electric vehicle adoption tends to correlate with renewable energy deployment," said Ed Solar, COO of CODA Energy. "Energy storage complements these technologies by reducing operational costs, improving functionality, enabling new revenue streams and mitigating grid stress."

CODA claims energy storage enables the Eco-Station to make smart choices with respect to electricity prices and the environment. During peak consumption periods, costly utility demand charges are minimized. At night, stored solar power can be used to charge vehicles and inexpensive, off-peak energy can be used to recharge the battery. When the Eco-Station is unoccupied during the day, it can sell excess generated or stored power back to the grid and generate revenue.

Energy storage optimizes the delivery of zero emissions, solar electricity, CODA says. Fast charging stations with integrated solar panels typically rely on grid power — even when the sun is shining — as the power needs of the vehicles and chargers often exceed the output of the solar array.

CODA claims one of its energy storage towers can discharge up to 100kW of power, far exceeding the capacity of common DC chargers. This allows drivers to refuel with 100 percent zero emissions electricity generated on-site. As charging systems are developed with even faster charging rates, energy storage will limit the need for expensive grid connection upgrades.

Energy storage also enables the Eco-Station to participate in utility demand response programs and provide valuable grid services, which creates additional revenue streams for the station operator. According to CODA. Multiple Eco-Stations connected by sophisticated network control software could become a valuable dispatchable load source during peak demand periods.

Earlier this month, BMW introduced its new BMW i3 electric vehicle (EV) with an "add-on mobility" option; to help curb “range anxiety,” or the fear of being stranded when the battery runs out of juice, BMW is allowing EV owners to borrow gas-powered BMW vehicles for longer drives.


Currently based in Washington, D.C, Mike Hower is a writer and strategic communicator helping to drive the conversation at the intersection of sustainable business and public policy. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from University of California,… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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