San Diego Zoo gets solar-powered electric vehicle chargers

The installation will power five EV charging stations using solar energy stored in a 100-kilowatt battery, plus it will also provide shade for up to 50 cars.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Given its focus on wildlife and environmental conservation, it shouldn't surprise you to hear the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park is now host to next-generation electric vehicle charging infrastructure powered by solar energy

The Solar-to-EV project from Smart City San Diego uses 10 solar canopies that produce 90 kilowatts (kW) of electricity and are being used to install five electric vehicle charging stations that have been installed on the site. The electricity is stored with a 100-kw battery that will also be used to offset power demand at the zoo when vehicles aren't being charged.

Artist Rendering Credit: Manuel Oncina, Architects Inc.

The canopies also serve a secondary purpose - they can shade approximately 50 cars in the facility's southeast parking lot.

San Diego Gas & Electric, the City of San Diego, GE, the University of San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego collaborated to drive the project, which could be replicated at other locations throughout the city.

"California has established the most aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals in the nation," said Jim Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E, in a statement. "Under Mayor Sander's leadership, the City of San Deog has consistently been ahead of the curve in determining how best to demonstrate new technology and provide necessary infrastructure to promote clean energy adoption."

The initiative is being backed by The EV Project, which received almost $100 million in Department of Energy funding to build out charging infrastructure across the United States. Both Nissan and Chevrolet are partners in the program.

The San Diego Zoo manages field programs in more than 35 countries and manages a number of conservation programs intended to save endangered animals from extinction including the Frozen Zoo, the Native Seed Gene Bank and the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers.

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