Innovation That Matters

Solar-powered EV charging made easy for apartment blocks

Property & Construction

In San Francisco, Powertree Services enable apartments to offer EV charging and solar power at no extra cost to building owners.

We have already seen how solar power can be harnessed to charge electric vehicles via the EV Arc, and we wait eagerly for developments from Ubitricity’s portable charging device, which could help spur on the adoption of renewable transport further. Now, San Francisco based Powertree Services are helping to solve the problem of home-charging for another potential EV market — apartment owners and renters.

Previously, these consumers may have been deterred from purchasing an electric car because the vehicles are most effective when charged at home, over night — which apartment dwellers often cannot do. The Powertree system provides a solution by installing multiple charging stalls within the car parks of large buildings, which are charged by solar panels on the building’s roof. The stalls are available anytime to any Powertree member. As with Ubitricity, the aim is to expand the charging options for consumers, making electric vehicles a more appealing proposition.

Powertree rent both the parking and roof space from apartment building owners. For the drivers, a monthly subscription fee permits them to charge at any stall — whether it’s in their building or not. This flat fee is charged per KW of array capacity allocated to the tenant, at a flat rate per month calculated based on the tenants selection of the amount for solar power they want.

The service is targeted primarily at large property owners who will benefit from the extra revenue generated by the rent and the added value from the on-site renewable electricity generators. Excess solar power can also be stored and used elsewhere in the building, providing a cleaner, more reliable power supply for tenants.

Powertree are currently partnering with Panasonic to build their first 68 EV charging stations in San Francisco. Could other partnerships lead to more developments around the world?



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