With charging infrastructure technology and installations becoming a top priority, and as electric fleets increase, more ways to power vehicles are being implemented. One such implementation? A solar parking canopy that is being developed by Rivian.
The solar parking site will have 783 kilowatts of capacity and be able to charge 72 vehicles at a time. The project is being developed with ForeFront Power at Rivian’s Normal, Illinois, electric vehicle manufacturing facility.
The solar canopy is equipped with Rivian electric vehicle chargers to make up the manufacturing plant’s outbound solar charging yard. The project is expected to generate more than 1 gigawatt-hour of renewable energy a year and will help Rivian avoid 800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Rivian’s solar charging yard became operational in September 2022. The company is also planning a 2.8-megawatt wind turbine at the Normal facility. The wind energy project is expected to produce 10 GWh of electricity per year, and cut carbon emissions by up to 177,000 tons, Rivian says.
Between the two renewable energy installations, Rivian expects to power all new R1 vehicles with clean energy for their first charge before they are delivered.
Renewable energy could play an important role as fleets continue to be electrified.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers recently cited a report by Western University in Ontario that found the average Walmart Supercenter in the US has enough solar energy potential for 100 charging stations. The university says Walmart’s US fleet could use that to deploy 11 GW of energy.
EVgo says its expansive charging network in the US has been powered by renewable energy since 2019. The company purchases renewable energy credits to account for every kilowatt-hour of energy used on its network.
Charging infrastructure in general has been at the forefront of many energy transitions recently. The US approved its first wave of charging plans as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds.
Cox Automotive Mobility is expanding mobile charging services, and TerraWatt Infrastructure recently obtained $1 billion in funding to help build out a network of commercial fleet charging centers. United Kingdom-based electric fleet infrastructure business Fleete was also recently launched to finance, install, and manage charging systems.
Charging systems are also improving technology that can increase energy efficiency overall, such as vehicle-to-grid capabilities. The vehicle-to-grid technology market is expected to be valued at $12.75 billion by 2031, according to Transparency Market Research, and automakers like Nissan have approved the use of bi-directional chargers.
Rivian is helping Amazon transition its delivery vehicles with plans to have them on the roads in more than 100 cities in the United States by the end of the year. Rivian is also providing Amazon vehicles with an electric delivery vehicle management system.
The electric vehicle maker says its renewable energy installations and charging infrastructure is part of its Climate Pledge agreement to reach net zero by 2040.