Solar Powered EV Charging Station 3-Months Out From New Jersey Company

SEP 2 2012 BY MIKE 3

Mock Up Of Two Car Charging Station

Princeton Satellite Systems, a New Jersey based company, has designed an EV charging system that will be powered by solar panels.

The prototype version of the SunStation by Princeton Satellite Systems

The system, called SunStation, uses solar panels to charge EVs via a 240-AC connection with a battery backup.  The standard version can charge a 1.6-kilowatt battery in about 10 hours.  Consisting of 4 solar panels, this version costs around $27,000.

“Other charging stations require you to put them where you have access to power. It reduces your flexibility,” said Michael Paluszek, president of Princeton Satellite Systems.

Sunspot's Smallest Solar Charging Option


Princeton Satellite System also offers a larger version, with a price around $55,000, that offers even more flexibility and capacity.

“With its built-in battery it can charge EVs 24 hours a day. 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. The high-efficiency solar panels produce the maximum power with the minimum footprint. The station can charge up to two EVs simultaneously.”

The company is expected to put the SunStations on the market within the next three months and will start with parking lots and mall operators.  The company can also design charging stations to suit needs.  A commercial venor can opt to include a credit card reader in its system, although Paluszek said that probably is not a good idea.

“It’s not very profitable, I think the better business model is to offer it for free and hope that people stay a while in your store.  We anticipate that companies will want to provide these stations as a service to attract customers,” Paluszek said. “These are very expensive cars right now … so people driving them are the type of people you want to attract to your store anyway.”

To learn more about the company and its products, take a look at their website, or ZDNet or  Full specs were not available at time of press.

Categories: Charging


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3 Comments on "Solar Powered EV Charging Station 3-Months Out From New Jersey Company"

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This is great! My only hope with these solar charging stations is that the panels provide sufficient shade for the cars parked underneath to keep them cool. Also the panels would need gutters to collect the rain water instead of dumping it on top of the cars or eroding the parking surface underneath.

Interesting concept, but how about some details? How much power do the panels produce? I assume that it outputs 3.3kW given the times listed to charge the Leaf/Volt/PiP.How big is the built-in battery? If it can really “charge EVs 24 hours a day” continuously, this implies a battery at least 2-3x that of the Leaf and solar panels that produce at least 5-6x the charging power. That’s a 48-96kWh battery and 20kW of panels. If they’re offering that at $55k, I suppose I could believe it, but it’s darn impressive! Is there a large potential for such an off-the-grid solution? If you’re off the grid, that means once the battery is full, you basically dump as heat the extra electricity generated until someone comes along and begins charging their car. There is no potential for net metering, which is a huge factor in making solar viable. Certainly in my locale, this would not make sense – it would be more logical to run some conduit to get your grid-tied panels and chargers. Are there a lot of businesses in remote places that would be interested in spending $55k for chargers as a free service to their customers?

Good questions, but the information is pretty sparse from the source.

Dimensionally from looking at the provided photos, and assuming a tradition efficiency, we would assume that is a 200-220 watt panel. So given your location and time of year you could be producing anywhere from 400 W to 1.4 kW in theory.

Given those parameters:
4 panels = 1.6 kW to 5.6 kW
12 panels = 4.8 kW to 16.8 kW

In our experience, off the grid with battery backup realistically has no sensible time frame for return on investment. It would be offered just to be green, or to provide where otherwise it was not possible.