Sustainability

Fresno, Calif. agency taps solar fast-charging units for electric fleet

Posted on December 14, 2017

The DCFC units will provide in-route DC fast-charging for two BYD 35-foot electric buses. Photo: Envision Solar International
The DCFC units will provide in-route DC fast-charging for two BYD 35-foot electric buses. Photo: Envision Solar International

The Fresno County Rural Transit Agency (FCRTA) ordered the first two of a series of solar-powered DC fast-charging Solar Tree DCFC products from  renewable energy product company, Envision Solar International Inc.

FCRTA will deploy the Solar Tree DCFC systems as part of their ongoing innovative efforts to reduce harmful emissions in Fresno County. This will be the first deployment of off-grid solar-powered Electric Bus DC fast-charging and the first to offer a secure and renewable source of energy for charging during a grid interruption.

Solar Tree DCFC will charge FCRTA's electric buses even during black-outs or other grid interruptions, a vital transportation and energy security measure for the Authority. The product can also be accessed by first responders for emergency power during disasters. The agency was awarded a grant from the Fresno County Transportation Authority (New Technology Fund) to utilize this pollution reduction program, which will allow rural members of the community to take advantage of clean, reliable electrified public transportation.

The DCFC units will provide in-route DC fast-charging for two BYD 35-foot electric buses between Orange Cove and Coalinga as they operate on their 90- and 130-mile loops on express routes into Fresno.

"We have already created a clean and free fueling option for our constituency through the deployment of solar-powered EV ARC chargers across the county," said Moses Stites, FCRTA General Manager. "We will now continue to lead in providing zero-emissions transportation by integrating an electric bus fleet into our public transportation system. These buses will run on sunshine and we will be able to ensure a reliable service even during black-outs due to our choice of grid-independent, clean charging solutions."

According to analysts at the Freedonia Group, electric and hybrid buses will hit 22% of unit demand by 2021. In a recent article, the Energy Gang cited experts suggesting that 100% of new bus purchases will be electric by 2030.

Invented and manufactured in California, the Solar Tree DCFC is a rapidly deployed, grid-independent DC fast charging solution that covers eight parking spaces and does not reduce available parking in any way. The product's solar electrical generation is enhanced by the patented EnvisionTrak™ system, which causes the array to follow the sun, generating 18 to 25% more electricity than a fixed array. The energy is stored in the Solar Tree product's energy storage for charging day or night and during grid failures. The product is delivered as a fully engineered kit of parts and requires minimal installation work. Solar Tree products are manufactured in the Company's San Diego facility by combat veterans, the disabled, minorities, and other highly talented, mission-driven team members.

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