Electric Vehicles

OnStar Teams Up with TimberRock for EV Solar Charging

July 12, 2013

The solar charging canopies with integrated storage manages the output of its solar charge stations and its fleet of Chevrolet Volts to regulate energy flow and even sell energy back to the grid.


Photo Credit: General Motors
The solar charging canopies with integrated storage manages the output of its solar charge stations and its fleet of Chevrolet Volts to regulate energy flow and even sell energy back to the grid.Photo Credit: General Motors

OnStar, a proveder of vehicle safety, security, and information services, announced today a project with TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc., a technology-enabled energy services company, that uses aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power. The system also benefits the electric grid. It will be the first “real-world” use of OnStar’s Smart Grid solutions, according to General Motors.

TimberRock will monitor the output of its solar charging stations, how much stored energy is available and when it can sell energy back to the grid to help meet peak demand. To help balance this system, TimberRock will then manage its fleet of four Chevrolet Volts to help regulate energy flow. This practice is known as Market-Based Regulation.

The ability to control the Volts’ charging using software algorithms is made possible by an OnStar solution called Demand Response, accessed through OnStar’s Smart Grid application programming interface, or APIs. OnStar has given TimberRock access to this solution so that it can start, stop and modulate the amount of charge going to a particular Volt in coordination with energy need. TimberRock’s software determines when the EVs can be used to support the grid.

“This is the first time a demonstration of Demand Response is being taken beyond lab or university studies," said Paul Pebbles, GM global manager, Smart Grid and EV Services. “Down the line, this could really incentivize solar charging for EV drivers.”

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