No grid service? No problem.

Electrify America has announced the opening of eight of the thirty planned solar-powered charging stations that are designed to offer EV owners a way to charge at rural California destinations. 

We first reported on the planned $2 million rollout of the thirty Envision Solar - now Beam Global solar-powered charging stations earlier this year. Back then, Electrify America explained to us that these stations will have minimum impact on the area where they are located because they don't require any construction to install them. They simply drop them on the site and turn them on.

Each charging station has two Level 2 chargers with the ability to charge up to 3.5kW. The stations are independently rated to withstand winds up to 120 mph and floods up to 9.5 feet and can operate in the event of a blackout or power outage.

The charging stations have a 4.28-kW sun-tracking solar array and a 32 kWh battery to store the energy so EVs can use the stations even when the sun isn't shining. The systems provide off-grid EV charging that's truly zero-emission, with 100% renewable electricity. The units can be placed where there is currently no access to electricity or at a site that has electricity, but the supply isn't robust enough to support EV charging. 

Electrify America's BEAM-EV ARC solar canopy

The eight locations that are already open are in rural Fresno-county locations. Electrify America promises that the remaining twenty-two locations will all be open before the end of 2020 and will be in other rural areas of California. The charging stations are free - there's no cost to use them. 

“Our work to expand access to sustainable, affordable electric vehicle charging options to communities that are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change is incredibly important” said Nina Huesgen, senior manager, Home and eCommerce at Electrify America. “Providing this access to charging that is independent from the grid is particularly key to rural areas, which may lack sufficient access to infrastructure, and can increase the confidence of local EV drivers in need of public charging options.”

Currently Open:

  • Donny Wright Park, 630 West Fresno Street, Fowler, CA 93625
  • Orange Cover City Hall, 633 6th Street, Orange Cove, CA 93646
  • Parking Lot, 1st Street/E. Front Street, Selma, CA 93662
  • Police Department, 17051 12th Street, Huron, CA, 93234
  • Police Department, 8770 S. Mendocino Ave, Parlier, CA 93648
  • City Parking Lot, Corner of H and 12th Street, Reedley, CA 93654
  • City Parking Lot, 643 Quince Street, Mendota, CA 93640

Opening Friday, October 2nd:

  • Veterans Park, S. Indianola Ave/E. Jensen Ave, Sanger, CA 93657

Electrify America tells us that soon, customers using the Electrify America app will be able to identify the solar-powered chargers by a sun icon, which will show the exact location of the charging station.

We love solar-powered EVs and these Beam Global solar canopy chargers are a great way to offer EV charging to rural destinations that otherwise couldn't offer a place to plug in. It would be nice if the units could hold more than 32 kWh of energy and dispense the juice a little faster, preferably at 7.4 kW (32 amps), but these will definitely be a valuable asset, as is.

Let us know what you think about Electrify America's solar-powered charging stations. A worthwhile endeavor, or could the money have been better spent on other EV charging initiatives? As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.