New Solar Fill-Up Station Unveiled
Earlier today, in Plainville, Connecticut, officials and employees of General Electric, along with state government officials, unveiled GE's newest feat of technology: a solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) carport.
General Electric is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, just an hour away from Plainville. In a report by ShorelinePlus.com, GE stated that the charging station is one of the largest solar carport projects in North America. It can provide clean energy alternatives to traditional energy sources and will last at least 25 years. GE Energy Industrial CEO Luis Ramirez was quoted as saying that "the electric vehicle is a good opportunity" for Connecticut residents, as most drive less than 50 miles a day and won't have to worry about running out of power. "The GE EV Solar Carport provides clean energy alternatives to oil and biofuels, expands on our ability to capture the sun's energy, and helps us deliver a viable EV ecosystem: [Today] is a bright day for EV infrastructure development in Connecticut and the nation."
The 216-by-40 foot solar carport can create 125 megawatt hours and can fully charge up to 13 vehicles per day, which is equivalent to powering 20 homes each year. It takes six hours on average to charge each car, with the bill coming out to just $3 per charge. Compare that to average Connecticut gas prices of $4.11 a gallon and it's easy to see why GE expects their carport to resonate well with local residents.
GE is working with a number of additional municipalities and utilities in the U.S. to create a widely distributed network of EV charging stations across the country, falling in line with President Obama's goal of seeing 1 million EV's on the nation's highways. The state of Connecticut plans to have 25,000 electric vehicles on the road in the next decade, according to this article on courant.com.
The unveiling of the EV carport is a result GE's recent push in the solar energy market. Mark Little, Global Research Director for GE, believes that new innovation has the potential to make solar-produced electricity cheaper than electricity generated from nuclear reactors and fossil fuels within 3 to 5 years. Bloomberg reports that the cost of solar cells, the primary component in panels, has fallen 21 percent so far this year. Solar has already reached grid parity in the sunniest parts of California, Italy, and Turkey and should do the same for other regions if the solar costs continue to dive. Hopefully, GE and similar companies can continue to build new technologies like the EV carport, in hopes that someday in the near future we can eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels.