As we head towards a world increasingly powered by sources of renewable energy, questions about how to make the transition will continue to arise.
California will continue to be the testing ground as it is a leader in both solar power capacity and electric vehicle use. The combination of EVs and solar will play an increasingly large role in the coming decades.
Electric vehicles, in particular, provide a twofold benefit in reducing our carbon footprints. Not only do they not emit CO2 during use, but their battery packs can help utilities handle electricity demand. EVs can store excess solar energy during peak daytime hours. At night, this battery stored solar power can then be drawn from the electric vehicles.
According to a recent article from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ieee.org) The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a pilot project for 2,150 solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations. Utility PG&E originally proposed a plan for 25,000 stations but may have to wait a while before this larger number is implemented. These stations will be crucial in reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles which accounts for 38 percent of the total CO2 emitted.
In addition to utilizing stored power from EVs, car companies will also be able to use battery packs that get replaced with newer ones that have longer ranges. These older ev battery packs will still be able to hold a good amount of energy and will eventually add up to significant energy capacity for utility usage.
Solar power will continue to be an important part of the renewable energy picture, especially in California. A major reason for this is that the ongoing drought is making hydroelectricity less and less favorable. There will also be more room for solar as land that was once reserved for farming may become available for large scale solar projects.
The fact remains that much must be done for the state to reach its goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. This goal will definitely rely on our ability to drastically increase our deployment of both solar power and energy storage technologies. While commercial and residential solar will add up to considerable percentages, utility solar will be the primary contributor. The good news is that the frequency of utility-scale projects will increase as the price of utility-scale solar decreases further in the coming years.
While California may be the largest renewable energy experiment in the country, the good news is that other states are not waiting to see the results. It’s now widely known that we must collectively make our transition to a sustainable and renewable energy society as quickly as we can.