Trial begins for solar powered car charging station

The city's first electric car charging station using solar power has opened in Songjiang. It has 12 charging poles supplied by over 40 rooftop solar energy panels.
Ti Gong

Twelve charging poles supplied by over 40 rooftop solar energy panels have been installed at the station covering about 1,000 square meters at 150 Xinzhuan Highway.

Shanghai's first solar power charging station for electric vehicles has begun a trial operation in outskirt Songjiang District.

Twelve charging poles supplied by over 40 rooftop solar energy panels have been installed at the station covering about 1,000 square meters on 150 Xinzhuan Highway, the city's power supplier, the State Grid Shanghai Electric Power Company said.

The solar energy charging poles, which can cater to all mainstream electric vehicle brands from both home and abroad, are expected to be widely promoted across the city and will help to boost the popularity of green energy cars among locals, according to the company.

Compared with traditional stations, the new charging station which claims to offer pure "green energy," requires only solar panels, large-capacity batteries and charging poles.

Liu Lian, an employee at the station, said the poles offer a fast charging service with direct current to nearly all vehicles sold after 2015. "It takes half an hour to charge 70 percent and about two hours to fill the battery for an electric vehicle," Liu said.

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A building near to the station is filled with lithium batteries to store the electricity for evening services or overcast days. Forty-four solar energy panels have been placed on its rooftop.

The two-story building was built near the charging station and 44 solar energy panels have been installed on the rooftop. The building is filled with lithium batteries to store electricity for evening services or overcast days.

The capacity of the panels totals 11.66 kilowatts and can generate about 100 kilowatt hours of electricity a day, or the battery capacity for about three electric vehicles.

The station has been connected to the city's power grid in case demand exceeds its solar power capacity. "It will switch to use the power from the grid when there is insufficient solar power or during continuous rainy or overcast days," Liu said.

It costs about 1.98 yuan (30 US cents) for one kilowatt hour of electricity, which is based on a  0.68 yuan basic electric fee plus a 1.3 yuan service charge, Liu said.

"The price is acceptable though it is cheaper to charge at home," said a customer surnamed Shao who owns an electric car. "My car can run about 200 kilometers after charging up for 28 kilowatt hours of electricity at the station, which costs 56 yuan," Shao said.

He usually charges his vehicle at his home after 10pm when the electric fee is halved — to 0.3 yuan per kilowatt hour. "It costs me only 10 yuan to fill the battery of my car," he added.

The station, however, is proving popular among white-collar workers employed at nearby office buildings in the Caohejing development zone, according to Liu. They park their vehicles at the station during working hours for charging, Liu said.

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A worker charges an electric vehicle at the station. It takes about two hours to fully charge a car.

The station trial will create a micro grid with solar power and batteries, said an official with the power company's Songjiang branch. "The method makes it easier to promote the charging station, while avoiding affecting the regional electric grid when large number of cars charge simultaneously," the official added.

The city and national governments are determined to widely promote clean-energy vehicles via subsidies and regulations to boost the new-energy vehicle sector as well as to improve air quality.

Several weeks ago, China's top ministries issued a regulation requiring 10 percent of automakers' sales to be electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2019, rising to 12 percent in 2020.


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