A solar-powered carport charging electric cars

Belgium’s first Solar Fast Charging Station opened on Friday, May 13 at Living Tomorrow in Vilvoorde. Unlike other carports, this one uses solar power to charge electric vehicles in just 30 minutes. Another step towards the future of green mobility.

ENGIE Solar Fast Charging Station jbc

“Photovoltaics will be the key to saving our planet”, predicts Kevin Welch, Chief Strategy Officer at ENGIE Benelux. He believes that solar power will be everywhere in the future and will compete with wholesale electricity. The Solar Fast Charging Station that opened at Living Tomorrow on May 13 already seems to be lending weight to his prediction. Solar power will ultimately be the cheapest technology for generating electricity without emitting CO2.

Battery life of up to 30,000 km per year

The Solar Fast Charging Station is a carport with a waterproof roof made of photovoltaic panels. It was designed to house two electric cars at once and is able to completely charge their batteries in 30 minutes.

It offers many benefits: it can be installed easily and quickly in any carpark. No major earthworks are required to install the carport, as the foundations comprise a series of concrete slabs.

The quick charge infrastructure is completely integrated into the carport, which is connected to the electricity grid (which acts as a buffer). The energy generated by the solar panels is injected onto the grid. During charging, electric vehicles tap into the grid’s current via the terminal.

Depending on the power of the vehicles, the Solar Fast Charging Station’s photovoltaic panels can power between 25,000 and 30,000 km per year. The general public can use it for several euro (per charge).

A first in Belgium

This terminal is the first of its kind in Belgium. Its design and launch was the result of teamwork between several companies, including ABB, Mutec, Stradus Infra, Vitaemobility and ENGIE Cofely. Utilising its expertise in electric mobility, the ENGIE group dealt with the supply, installation and connection of the quick charger, as well as the design of the station’s recording and invoicing module. ENGIE Cofely will handle the technical and commercial aspects of this one-of-a-kind charging infrastructure over the next decade.

This approach is wholly aligned with the ENGIE Group’s desire to become a leader of the energy transition. This transition more specifically calls for decarbonised generation, lower consumption and greater green mobility.

To end on an amusing note: the Solar Fast Charging Station has an extension called a sun bed. This has nothing to do with tanning! This bed is also equipped with photovoltaic panels used to charge electric bikes, smartphones, tablets, and so on.

The Solar Fast Charging Station is open at Living Tomorrow, Indringingsweg 1, 1800 Vilvoorde.

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