SunStation – the fuel station of the future?

New Jersey based Princeton Satellite Systems have unveiled their solar-powered electric vehicle charger, the SunStation.

The SunStation has several key advantages over the current system, perhaps the most important of these is the freedom to install the stations away from conventional power supply, completely removing the reliance on traditional conventional fossil fuel powers sources. As the SunStation incorporates a battery, it can be used 24 hours a day and can accomodate two electric vehicles at the same time.

Official information from Princeton Satellite Systems estimates the SunStation provides 240 V AC power and can fully recharge a Nissan Leaf in 8 hours, a Chevy Volt in 4 and a Toyota Prius Plugin Hybrid in 1.5.

In addition to their vehicle charging applications, SunStations can be used for homes or small businesses after an electrical outage from a storm. In countries where there is limited or no grid infrastructure, the SunStation might actually be able to provide electricity to an entire village (as is the goal of many Pacific Island nations such as Tokelau).

There are two sizes available: one with four solar panels and a 1.6 kilowatt battery for USD$27,000 and a larger one priced at USD$55,000. Despite the high cost there has been some expressions of interest from the like of Starbucks. It has been suggested that primary market for the EV system in the interim would be high-tech companies in Silicon Valley with the search engine Infoseek installing at least one EV charger in the company parking lot where the CEO would charge his EV-1.

In August of this year, Santa Clara County (in the Silicon Valley area) announced it has twelve EV charging stations available to the public at the County of Santa Clara Civic Center.

Image via Princeton Satellite Systems 

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Rebecca Boyle