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Solar Energy and EV Charging Infrastructure

RANAJAY MALLIK
RANAJAY MALLIK, SRA-SAIL, STMicroelectronics

With the push to move to electric mobility at a national scale, and with the government being very enthusiastic about deployment of electric vehicles, the electronic industry can expect to see a lot of activity around indigenous development and manufacturing. While electric vehicles are being worked upon by major OEMs, an ecosystem for development of chargers, charging stations and software & cloud services is steadily being built. Established companies as well as various start-ups, have started working on these areas and results are starting to show. However, there is still a lot of opportunity to make even better, the electronics side of it.

The government, with the help of BIS, ARAI, EESL and other bodies, has already released technical specifications on charging stations and some of the original specifications like the AC-001 and the DC-001 have already been developed and charging stations have been deployed at select locations. The newer guidelines require the charging stations to be equipped with multi standard chargers, viz. AC Type 2, the CCS and the CHADEMO, in addition to the lower power AC and DC-001. However, these systems are reliant entirely on the grid, are subject to real estate availability at prime urban and semi-urban locations, and the question of the grid being ready and equipped for these added loads, still remains.

This is where, solar energy and storage comes into picture to not only supplement the grid but to also work standalone at feasible locations across the country. Fortunately, India has seen successful solar deployment and the abundance of solar energy due to its geographic location. The one-time installation and capital expense, works well for at least 20-25 years, with the return on investment, taken care of in a few years. The energy input henceforth becomes virtually free. The subsequent sections will illustrate a feasible implementation that may be adopted to harness solar energy, store it and use it for EV charging. It will touch upon energy harnessing & storage schemes, distributed battery management, power conversion and connectivity, which are the basic building blocks for a modular, scalable, solar-powered EV charging station.

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