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Most new DCFCs these days can charge at speeds of either 150 kilowatts or 350 kilowatts. According to a study by fast charging company EVGo, under standard use, a bank of four chargers requires as much power as that needed to power 100 and 230 homes, respectively. In other words, just four of these chargers have the energy demand of an entire housing subdivision.
Compare that to a typical solar panel, which under ideal conditions can generate about 320 watts, according to Sunrun. In order to power a single 150 kilowatt fast charger, a company would need to install 469 solar panels.
Instead of trying to make the station sites themselves greener, EVgo purchases renewable energy certificates, which it claims are “different than buying offsets of carbon because we can actually match the kWh used with the kWh we purchase, which provides financing for renewable energy projects such as wind and solar.” Like carbon offset markets, these projects require third party verification by self-certifying firms. Still, Das insisted “By purchasing RECs, we have a much bigger impact than installing distributed energy on site in each parking lot.”
Again, none of this is to say solar canopies are bad. They are a net positive, all things considered, because we need all the solar we can possibly get if we want green energy any time soon.
But the relationship between EVs and that green energy is more complicated than is often presented. As a recent study argues , more than half of the emission-reduction impact from fewer gas-powered vehicles will be offset by increased emissions from the electricity sector “without significant and concurrent changes to the electricity sector far more substantial than those over the last decade.”
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