The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Is EV-Solar Partnership Merging Into the Fast Lane?

Early adopters test-drive markets, and if the curbside view in San Francisco is any indication, electric vehicles could soon be ready to shift to the next gear.

Mark Mendenhall is the general manager of SunEdison North America and he’s seen a notable shift in the number of EVs on the city’s streets since the beginning of the summer. The question now from a national and global perspective is how to turn an uptick in a place known for environmental consumerism into a mainstream market.

SunEdison is one of the companies making headway in tying solar directly into the EV equation. Mendenhall calls it the virtuous cycle, and he defines it as the interplay between electric vehicles, distributed generation power such as solar and emerging storage technologies.

“That combination is another thing that will continue to extend the market for solar well past the time when the utility projects have reached a stable state as opposed to the growing state we’re in today," he said.

Mendenhall sees the growing marriage of EV and distributed solar energy as a "mega-trend" that he says is inevitable. "[The trend] gives us confidence of long-term viability and desirability of solar as an integral solution in energy production,” he added.

Getting there could take a while, though there have been some developments that are sure to strengthen the relationship between solar companies and carmakers. According to Mendenhall, there is a three-pronged approach to getting the virtuous cycle from a conceptual possibility to a market reality.

First, companies producing EVs need to offer as part of their solution a home charging station as well as solar and storage solutions. The next step is for companies that have a sustainability program to encourage their employees to charge plug-in vehicles at work by installing charging stations in the ofifce parking lots. Then for consumers themselves, there needs to be a residential solution that does not shift the cost of their electricity from the pump to the meter. This last part is the time-of-use solution that allows solar generation to feed into the grid during the day at receive peak rates while the vehicle recharges from the grid at night when the cost of the electricity is cheaper. The cars themselves could also act as a storage system.

Many of these individual solutions are coming together in Austin, Texas, as part of the Pecan Street smart-grid demonstration project built around home appliances, consumer devices and electric vehicles. SunEdison recently announced it was joining the project to lead the development of home PV charging systems for the Chevy Volt.

SunPower is another of the leading solar companies that have forged an alliance with a carmaker. In August, Ford announced it had partnered with SunPower for a “Drive Green for Life” program that will use a 2.5-kilowatt rooftop array to charge the new Ford Focus electric vehicle due to hit the streets in 2012. 

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now


US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...

US, China Solar PV Players Team Up, Invest $100MM in Chile, Uruguay and Japan

Andrew Burger Private equity infrastructure specialist Hudson Clean Energy Partners and Hong Kong-based independent power producer ...

CEO Gilles: Challenge in Geothermal is to 'Level Playing Field' with Wind, Solar

Jennifer Delony The current challenge for the geothermal energy industry is what U.S. Geothermal CEO Dennis Gilles calls “leveling th...

NRG Energy to Form Renewable Unit, Sell Wind Assets to Yieldco

Mark Chediak and Matthew Monks, Bloomberg NRG Energy Inc., the worst-performing member of the S&P 500 Utilities Index this year, said it will form a renewa...


Array Technologies Finalizes Shipments to E.ON’s Maricopa West Solar Project

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has completed DuraTrack® HZ shipments to the 20 MW (ac) ...

B.C. Energy Minister to provide keynote at renewables for mines summit.

BC Minister of Energy and Mines to address the challenges of providing alternative powe...

Mining leaders seek renewables solutions at Toronto Summit

The global mining sector is facing a tough business environment with low commodity pric...

American Renewable Energy Institute Gears Up for 12th Annual Summit

"Racing Climate Change: Green Bridge with China, The Road to Paris” is the theme of th...


New Mexico Attracts Jobs and Revenues with Renewable Energy Tax Credit

New Mexico has abundant fossil fuel resources: in 2013, it ranked sixth in the nation for crude oil production, seven...

The Vice President Stole My Show (Not Really)

When I finished my Solar Power International (SPI) panel discussing what future opportunities the panelists saw in so...

The Value Of The Building

If you’re selling efficiency solutions in the built environment, you may find yourself being asked by your pros...

Sewage provides energy through processing

Many nations are investing in new technology to turn sewage waste into usable energy. Japan has recently revised its ...



Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Canadian Solar Inverters Webinar

Canadian Solar is proud to be hosting two free webinars in October! The ...

JuiceBox Energy Certified Installer Class

JuiceBox Energy is rapidly building out its national certified installer...


How To Speak, How To Listen

As sales professionals, effective communication is paramount to our succ...

Get In The Habit

We all develop habits throughout our lives. Sometimes they’re bene...

Becoming An Efficiency Sales Professional

In order to become a sales professional, you must first realize that: E...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now