Solaranda™, a patio shade structure company, is expanding the possibilities for people looking to install residential solar and may soon cater to those interested in running their EVs on the sun.
The Mesa, Ariz. company produces open-air shade structures (verandas) with solar systems on the roofs to provide shade and aesthetic value while producing clean, renewable energy.
It would definitely be possible for customers looking to use their Solaranda™ to directly charge an electric vehicle, said EnergyPro, Inc. president Nichole Koontz. EnergyPro is the company that developed the Solaranda™ and sells the product.
“It would be pretty simple to transfer the electricity generated from the Solaranda™ to a car,” said Koontz.
On-grid and off-grid options Solaranda’s™ solar systems can be installed to connect to the electric grid. The structure can also be part of a closed system that uses a battery to store the electricity generated during the day.
If the system is grid-tied, the solar energy it generates while the sun is shining covers some – or all — of the home’s daytime energy needs. This gives the homeowner an electricity credit from the utility and helps to offset the electricity home pulls from the grid at night.
If the system is not grid-tied, it connects to a battery that stores the electricity generated during the day for use at night. A non-grid-tied Solaranda™ system is typically more expensive than a grid-tied one. This is due to the cost of the batteries usually affixed to a non-grid-tied system, explained Koontz.
Additionally, while non-grid-tied systems are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent, they are often not eligible for utility rebates. Koontz suggests checking the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy for more information on rebates and non-grid-tied solar systems.
In the case of an off-grid Solaranda system, the power generated during the day would go directly into an EV, with excess power generated flowing into the battery pack.
A grid-tied system puts electricity back into the grid. However, during the day, some of the electricity generated by the Solaranda™ could directly charge an EV’s batteries – but only after the DC power generated by the solar panels is converted into AC power by a solar inverter.
Solaranda ™ + EVs a good combination Koontz said she does not know of any customers who are currently charging an EV with their Solaranda™, but she indicated that the company has received inquiries about it.
According to Koontz, EnergyPro is looking into marketing the Solaranda specifically for this application in the future. It is seeing an expanding market of EV drivers who want to charge their vehicles with solar power. The company needs to finalize the pricing of a kit for this purpose to make sure it is affordable, she said.
“It’s definitely a perfect matchup, it’s just a matter of finishing up the market research,” said Koontz.
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