RALEIGH, NC – Progress Energy Carolinas and the City of Raleigh have launched a two-year research and development partnership to evaluate solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations.

The project includes two charging stations in Raleigh and connecting them to a solar photovoltaic (PV) array and battery system. When the sun is shining, the PV array produces electricity and charges either a plugged-in vehicle or the on-site battery.

“Solar power and electric vehicles are both rapidly gaining momentum, so it makes sense to test their ability to work together,” said Lloyd Yates, president and CEO of Progress Energy Carolinas. “We are pleased to partner with Raleigh on an innovative project that will advance our understanding of these two technologies.”

The research project is located at 616 S. Salisbury St., in the city-owned parking lot near the intersection of South and Salisbury streets in downtown Raleigh. PowerWorks Electric, headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., designed and installed the system. Advanced Energy, based in Raleigh, assisted with the design and will manage ongoing data acquisition and evaluation. GE Industrial Solutions provided the charging equipment. 

“This project will prove and quantify the economic and environmental advantages of these two technologies and help lead the way for their broader public acceptance and adoption,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. 

This joint initiative has several goals, including:

  • Testing the ability to charge plug-in vehicles using electricity generated by the sun and stored in an on-site battery
  • Analyzing the effect on the electric grid from a solar-powered charging station
  • Evaluating electric vehicle battery performance
  • Comparing the side-by-side performance of two solar panel manufacturers
  • Monitoring the influences of weather on solar power production.

Progress Energy Carolinas and the City of Raleigh will use the two stations to charge their respective fleets of plug-in electric vehicles. Raleigh has installed 18 charging stations, nine for its fleet and nine for public use, and intends to install 15 additional public charging stations by the end of the year. Progress Energy plans to install 200 public and private charging stations through a grant from the Department of Energy.