First solar-powered EV charging station in South Africa

March 31st, 2015, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Energize

 

The first solar photovoltaic (PV) powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station in South Africa was launched on 16 March 2015. The station, which is part of a 9 kW installation, is located on the premises of the South African-German chamber of commerce and industry (SAGCC), in Forest town Johannesburg. The system, which is considered as a showpiece for the member companies of the SAGCC renewable energy working group, was supplied and installed by four German companies:

  • SMA, a manufacturer of inverters, with a South African operation
  • Schletter, a supplier of solar PV mounting systems, also SA based.
  • Solar World, a manufacturer of solar PV modules and systems
  • Solarfox, a manufacturer and supplier of solar system monitoring and display systems
Official opening

Official opening

The system consists of a 5 kW carport, which incorporates the EV charge station, and a second 4 kW array mounted on the roof of the SAGCC building. Two SMA tri-power 5000 inverters are employed, each system being handled by its own inverter. The outputs of the inverters are combined. The two systems are at different elevation angles, the roof system being determined by the slope of the roof, and the carport determined by the optimum angle for the site, but limited by visual impact.

Electric car being charged

Electric car being charged

In addition to charging an EV, the solar power system supplies approximately 20% of the energy requirements of the SAGCC buildings. The system, which was taken into service on 28 January 2015, has performed better than expected to date. The combined array is able to produce 40 kWh of electricity per day on average.  The average daily consumption of the site is about 80 kWh. There are other EV charging stations in use in South Africa, but this is the first to use solar power as the source of energy.

PV Carport

PV Carport

The total installation consists of 36 Solarworld 250 W polycrystalline solar panels, with the roof system comprising 16 panels and the carport 20 panels. The carport is a Schletter B1 carport system and the EV charger a Schletter P-charge system which has a minimum charging rate of 3,7 kW, a significant portion of the PV system’s output.

An interesting feature is the big screen display, provided by Solarfox, which gives a real time display of the performance of the system, including instantaneous, daily and long term production figures.

Solarfox display system

Solarfox display system

The installation is a project of the GCC sustainable energy competence centre, which is an information, networking and advisory platform for the industry, and is supported by the German federal ministry of economic affairs and energy. An important instrument of the centre is the renewable energy working group, which consists of SAGCC member companies and its objective is to represent the renewable energy stakeholders in Southern Africa.

Send your comments to: energize@ee.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

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