Electric vehicle charging potential from retail parking lot solar photovoltaic awnings
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This study investigates the energy related aspects of developing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations powered with solar photovoltaic (PV) canopies built on the parking infrastructure of large-scale retailers. A technical analysis is performed on parking lot areas located in the highest EV market coupled with charge station rates and capacities of the top ten EV. The results of a case study show a potential of 3.1 MW per Walmart Supercenter in the U.S., which could provide solar electricity for ∼100 EV charging stations. In the entire U.S., Walmart could potentially deploy 11.1 GW of solar canopies over only their Supercenter parking lots providing over 346,000 EV charging stations with solar electricity for their customers covering 90% of the American public living within 15 miles of a Walmart. This novel model could be adopted by any box store with the solar electricity sold for EV charging at a profit solving community charging challenges. In addition, however, the results for the first time indicate store owners could increase store selection and profit by providing free PV-EV charging for their customers with four mechanisms. Overall the results of this study are promising, but future work is needed to provide more granular quantification of the benefits of this approach.