EPRI and TVA to Build Solar Electric Charging Station

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) held a ground breaking ceremony on Friday, June 18, for a prototype integrated solar-assisted electric vehicle charging station that will be erected at the institute’s Knoxville, Tenn., research laboratory.

EPRI and TVA undertook the development of the design process with Eaton Corp. as a contractor to create a model-charging facility that will charge electric vehicles quickly and reliably.

When completed in the fall the test station will produce data that will assist in implementing key components of a smart grid, such as integrating renewables onto the grid, utilizing a battery storage system, assessing the impact on reliability of a distributed resource generation, testing advance metering infrastructure and analyzing electric vehicle supply equipment.

The prototype, also known as a Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal, or SMART™ station, will provide information on energy usage, the time when the equipment is used, the amount of solar-generated electricity produced and stored, and the potential impact of load clusters — when several vehicles are refueled at the same time — on distribution system reliability.

“TVA is taking an aggressive approach in embracing electric vehicle technology including the design, development and assessment of this fully-integrated electric-vehicle charging facility,” said Michael Howard, EPRI senior vice president of Research and Development. “We will work together on this facility which will test the technologies that will be used in the marketplace as electric vehicles play an increasingly prominent role in transportation.”

The facility will be compliant with safety and technical standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) by using a standard plugand the Infrastructure Working Council, an EPRI collaborative of utilities, automakers and vendors working toward a seamless transition to electric transportation.

“The SMART station design being launched here today is a major step in realizing a regional system of clean fuel for electric vehicles,” said Anda Ray, TVA senior vice president of Environment and Technology. “We are looking forward to the positive impact that this project will have to enable a cleaner transportation future with plug-in electric vehicles of all makes and models. With our strong partner in EPRI, we are confident in the success of the SMART station.”

The prototype station at EPRI will be followed by others located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and in the cities of Nashville and Chattanooga as well as an additional one in Knoxville.

The SMART station is being deployed in conjunction with the EV Project, managed by ECOtality North America, and including a number of partners such as the U.S. Department of Energy; the state of Tennessee; TVA; EPRI; ORNL; the cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville; and regional utility partners.

A new report that provides details about the design of the station has been published and is available for download. “Tennessee Valley Authority Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal (SMART) Station Project: Volume 1 – Base Design Report” can be accessed at: