The San Diego Zoo, which operates a world-famous wildlife park and a conservation organization dedicated to saving 16,000 endangered species, has a new mission—preserving man’s future on Earth. The zoo’s latest eco-friendly effort is the installation of solar canopies in the parking lot that recharge five zero-emission plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), store energy in a battery for future use, and feed extra power to the grid.
The Solar-to-EV project, in partnership with Smart City San Diego, is operated by the regional utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&). One of the first of its kind in the country, the project harnesses energy from the sun to directly charge 10 solar canopies, designed and installed by Vista, California-based Independent Energy Solutions. The solar modules—provided by Kyocera (News - Alert) Solar Inc.—were manufactured in the United States at the company’s San Diego facility.
The canopies produce 90 kilowatts (kW) of electricity— enough energy at peak capacity to charge the equivalent of 59 homes. When the chargers are not in use, solar power is stored in a 100-kW lithium-polymer battery system for future operation; any energy that cannot be stockpiled is loaded onto the electric grid to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community. The solar canopies also provide shade to approximately 50 cars in the zoo’s southeast parking area... Read More