Lighting The Way – Indiana Shoppers Get Plugged In
Solar power, battery storage and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) all converge at Clay Terrace Mall in Carmel, Indiana, thanks to a project developed by Duke Energy’s Emerging Technology team.
The innovative system offers both traditional and quick-charge stations for PEVs – connecting to a 10-kW roof-mounted solar panel. The solar energy is stored in a 42-kWh lithium-ion battery, which could be helpful during times of peak demand.
Thanks to abundant sunshine, shoppers can charge their PEVs for free at the mall. Every year, the system generates more than 10,000 kWh of solar energy. That’s enough to power an electric car for about 43,000 miles.
The project works this way: The solar panels turn sunshine into electric energy, which is stored in the battery. When the battery is fully charged, it sends any extra solar energy directly to the local power grid. When a PEV is plugged into one of the vehicle chargers, it gets charged from the local power grid and the battery simultaneously releases that same amount of solar energy to the grid.
But the system is not just a test site. It’s a real-world application that allows shoppers to experience and learn about the technology firsthand – while charging their cars using renewable energy.
For Duke Energy, the installation provides a valuable model for how renewable energy can be aligned with advanced storage technologies to provide a practical power source for the future.