Starting today, mall shoppers at Carmel, Indiana's Clay Terrace can plug in for free while they shop 'til they'drop or stop by for a bite to eat. A group of public and private energy concerns has installed a unique charging station in the mall's parking lot to meet the needs of a new generation of plug-in drivers.

Clay Terrace's new vehicle charging station is unique in that it uses  level 2 and 3 chargers connected to a 10 kw roof-mounted solar array whose energy can be stored in a Toshiba 75kwh battery unit that's located next to the system.

A Plug-In Prius And A LEAF Get a Level 2 And 3 Charge (Respectively) At The Grand Opening

A Plug-In Prius And A LEAF Get a Level 2 And 3 Charge (Respectively) At The Grand Opening

Duke Energy, in partnership with Toshiba Corp,. ITOCHU Corp., Tom Wood Automotive Group and Indiana's Energy Systems Network ( ESN ) installed the station as part of Project Plug-IN campaign, a clean-tech vehicle charging deployment initiative launched in 2009.

According to Ryuji Maruyama, General Manager of Toshiba’s Smart Community Division, “Toshiba developed its end of the ‘Plug-in Ecosystem’ for North America by combining existing micro-EMS (energy management system) optimization control capabilities with our latest rechargeable battery technology. This system ensures the efficient management of load within the EV charging system.”

For Duke Energy, this installation represents a real-world demonstration of smart charging technologies rather than a test site. It's unique public location at a shopping mall allows customers to learn about and use the technologies firsthand. This system provides a valuable model for how renewable energy can be utilized with advanced storage systems.

 “Innovations in grid energy storage can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of renewable energy usage”  “Because renewable energy sources like solar and wind are intermittent and less reliable, incorporating energy storage can make them much more stable. This system at Clay Terrace allows us to even out the vriable solar output, shift energy from off-peak to peak energy usage times and “buffer” the grid from electric vehicle charging, which can use a substantial amount of energy, particularly with DC quick charging”.  - Zachary Kuznar, Senior Project Manager, Emerging Technology Office – Duke Energy

A 10 kW Solar System And A 75 kWh Toshiba Battery Work In Conjunction To Be As

A 10 kW Solar System And A 75 kWh Toshiba Battery Work In Conjunction To Be As "Green" As Possible

Indiana is taking pride in being known as an ideal location to develop and test new clean technologies. Project Plug-IN has been nationally recognized for positioning the Central Indianapolis region as one of the most electric vehicle-friendly sites in the country.

“It’s exciting that Hoosiers have the opportunity to get the first look at these innovative systems, but even more significant to Indiana’s economy is the fact that the clean tech sector recognizes our state as a place where innovation is embraced and validated.” -Paul Mitchell, ESN CEO

Shopping malls present an ideal locale for innovative EV charging solutions.  Hopefully, we'll see many more projects like this spring up througout North America. The best part? For now, mall shoppers at Clay Terrace can plug in for free!

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