Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a host of advantages, including increased energy security, improved air quality and public health, and a variety of economic benefits. Recognizing these benefits, thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have initiated programs to increase the number of EVs on their roads.
With ownership of electric vehicles (EVs) growing, the need for an electrified transportation system is clear. Charging stations are needed in multifamily residences, commercial parking lots, and public spaces. Unless communities meet this demand for energy by strategically locating charging stations, vehicle range will be severely limited.
Supplying EVs with solar energy is a viable and promising option. Solar energy, which is most readily available during the day, offers a supply of energy for EV drivers who charge their vehicles at work. For utility companies, daytime EV charging with solar energy helps smooth the solar supply curve, minimize curtailment (where energy is produced but the grid cannot take it up), and enable more efficient use of transmission and distribution resources. EV owners and utilities will benefit from the increased availability of charging stations powered by the sun.
State leaders could promote the efficient co-location of solar and EV charging stations by implementing several smart, proactive policies. First, the state legislature could provide rebates for co-location of EV charging and solar technologies in the residential and commercial sectors. Also, the state public utilities commission could allow electric utilities to count EV charging loads that are offset by co-located distributed solar toward their energy efficiency requirements. Finally, the state legislature could direct the public utilities commission to identify grid locations where solar and EV charging can provide the greatest benefit and use targeted incentives in these locations. Promoting charging stations linked to solar panels increases demand for both EVs and solar panels, creating solar installation and maintenance jobs across the country.