Solar Tesla Supercharger In Rocklin, California Now Open


Tesla’s first U.S. Supercharger/showroom powered by solar went operational in late February.

Interestingly, this location is very close to another┬ástation at the Roseville Galleria Mall – under 5 miles away.

Located in Rocklin, California, this site features 8 Superchargers, as well as a Tesla store and even a service center – all of which are topped with PV solar arrays.

Details On Rocklin Site

Details On Rocklin Site

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26 Comments on "Solar Tesla Supercharger In Rocklin, California Now Open"

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Very Cool, Tesla rocks in Rocklin.

Any info on the amount of power available from solar panels? Are they hooked to superchargers or other usage at the site?

There is no official specs, and without knowing the specific output of each panel it is mostly guess work.

That being said, there are 3 separate arrays on the site, and I would guesstimate (using normal PV ratings) it is about a 50-60 kW system.

50-60kW system would mean at least 190 SunPower e20 panels and a bit less if using e21 panels. These are some of the most powerful panels available today.

Didn’t Solar City buy a pnael mnafucterer. Gotta believe it’s using their panels.

Solar City purchase Silevo, a new panel high efficiency panel. The new mfg plant isn’t finished yet and won’t start producing panels until middle of 2016. Good panels, I have three on my roof as a test. Wish I could purchase 4 more and finish off the array.
Not as good looking as a SunPower module but almost as efficient and a lot less expensive.

It looks to me as if the guy on the ladder is working on/or near an inverter. I would assume then that the array is grid tied and net metering to SMUD or PG&E. No direct link to the chargers at all. Which is what I would expect at this point in time. I wouldn’t use ESS at this time, I would put the cells in cards and sell them When they have too many then I would start using local storage at the SC.

Why is the showroom closed 3 days a week (well, by appointment only)? That seems kinda strange.

Because they only do enough business to keep the sales staff available for four days out of the week. Note that service hours are seven days a week.

It seems like it would be a better strategy to be open more, even if the sales aren’t there right now. It would boost awareness of the cars.

Rocklin is kind of a small town and not wealthy. And the biggest nearby city is Sacramento which is also not exactly a big city. So it probably doesn’t have much need for there to be a store there. I think that site is mainly a service center and a charging center since it is right on the path between the SF Bay area and Reno/Tahoe.

I thought the first or one of the first Supercharging locations had solar.

I think so, yes. Sadly, Tesla’s talk about powering its Supercharger network with solar power has been very little more than lip service. You will note the area of any of the “solar canopies” at the handful of Supercharger stations which have them, is little more than a fig leaf compared to the surface area you’d need to actually provide all the power for a Supercharger station. (On another forum, someone estimated you’d need the area of a football field.)

Jay Cole said there are three separate arrays at this site, so presumably part of the showroom’s power is provided by solar energy, too. Maybe most of it; charging a Model S in only 30-45 minutes takes much more power than providing electricity for a small commercial building.

Correction: Apparently you’d need about the surface area of a football field, covered in solar panels, to charge just one Model S at a time. Supercharger stations average five stalls (some have as many as eight), so up to five Model S’s can be charging at once.

The solar panels would only add to charging the super chargers they could never charge by themselves alone.

Powerwise yes, but energy wise no so much.
You need to produce enough to offset what it’s use.
Producing bit by bit most of the time but delivering load of it in short burst.
Of course you need to store it somewhere tie to the grid or in ESS.

Good thing Tesla is already in the stationary power storage business, and the superchargers aren’t under the same kind of load as gas stations. Their heaviest use is when owners have a holiday or other reason roads get packed. So long downtime followed by a spike and still grid-tied decent formula there.

Still can’t last during the zombie apocalypse, gotta work on that Elon, but get the cars out there first waiting on the Model 3 here.

Well, it could be made “carbon neutral” if Tesla would pay to build some off-site solar farms, and provide the same amount of electricity to the grid, annually, that the Supercharger network uses. That way they would avoid the resources (time, energy, cost) necessary to install battery packs for on-site energy storage. I don’t know just how much area of solar panels would be needed if you average out the per-station Supercharger electricity consumption over a year, but obviously a lot less than 5 football fields. Still, however much it is, I don’t see Tesla spending the resources to build all that just for bragging rights, just to be able to say “Superchargers are 100% solar powered!” That’s not going to help them much in selling cars and battery packs.

In Tesla’s early days (early days of selling the Roadster), they offered the option to offset the customer’s electricity usage by installing solar power to feed to the grid, for a fee. As I recall, they dropped that offer before long; but this would be the same idea.

It might be carbon neutral as is. It really depends on how much usage those superchargers see. But a 60KW system makes a lot of electricity. That is enough for 10 homes.

Yeah, you’d need a pretty damn big PV array to provide 125KW. But that is also the wrong way to think about it.

The whole point of the grid is to balance generation and loads. The Superchargers are probably only used now & then. Most of the time they are probably not used. If they want to be carbon neutral, they just need enough solar PV so that electricity generated by the PV on average exceeds the electricity consumed by the superchargers.

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But whatever solar PV they put up helps.

Hawthorne, Tejon Ranch, and more recently, Barstow all had solar at their Supercharger stations before Rocklin. If you want to be more specific, you could say that this is the first Tesla Sales, Service, and Supercharger location to have solar.

Besides the solar power the installation also gives a very welcome shadow to cars charging, not only keeping the cabin comfortable but also reducing the cooling requirements for the battery.

Not sure that shade helps with battery cooling unless you are talking about radiant heat that is underneath it. Similarly it makes no difference if your house A/C is shaded by bushes/trees since the volume of heat is so so much more than that tiny shade.

Given the California drought I say we should be building more solar. Nuclear Coal use lots of water, not sure about Natural Gas.

A power plant, that uses sea water cooling, like all nuclear power plants in California, doesn’t has any problems with drought on the land.

Yes, solar PV is great in that it doesn’t really use much water at all (except the clean the panels now & then). Wind also uses no water.

However, we use almost no coal in California at all (PG&E uses less than 2%). The state is down to one nuclear plant and it uses sea water to help with the cooling so I assume the amount of freshwater is uses is reduced.

I think most of the modern natural gas turbines don’t use water.

So California is pretty cautious about water usage for energy.