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In the Czech Republic you can recharge your car with solar energy

The first of its kind at E.ON: a public charger that uses solar energy. What makes it possible is a combination of a photovoltaic power plant, a battery storage facility and a public charging station for electric cars.

From January 2021 it can be found in the Czech Republic and stands at the Benzina ORLEN gas station near Břeclav, as this is the area where the highest number of sunny hours occurs.

If we take a look at it from a distance, it looks like a covered parking place for cars. But when getting closer, you can see an 18×5 metres roof, equipped with 54 photovoltaic panels that have a total output of 18 kilowatts peak (kWp) and battery storage with a usable capacity of 75 kilowatts-hour (kWh). There is already one ABB Terra fast charger that is able to recharge the car’s batteries from zero to 80 per cent in half an hour. Soon a further station will be added.

“It’s another step for us to make electromobility even more environmentally friendly,” announced Martin Záklasník, CEO of the E.ON Group in the Czech Republic. “Even now, drivers at most of our stations can recharge with energy from renewable sources. Near Břeclav, they will be able to use energy directly from the sun, which will be produced by photovoltaic panels on the roof above the charger. Thanks to the battery storage, we will also be able to store the energy produced even on days when the sun will not shine.”

Within ideal conditions E.ON’s power plant is able to produce approximately 15 megawatts-hour (MWh) of electricity per year, which corresponds to the volume recharged by electric vehicles’ drivers last year at the charger in Jihlava, which is one of the ten busiest stations in the E.ON Drive Network.

“At E.ON, we try to find green solutions wherever possible and Břeclav is a pilot project for us, which is much more demanding than the construction of a classic charging station,” explained Martin Klíma, Head of Mobility Services at E.ON Energie about the construction of the facility, which was financed from the European East-E project. “We will try in practice how to further improve the innovative combination of chargers, storages and solar panels in the future.”

Mr Klíma also highlighted that the great advantage of the system is that it is not depending on the weather. When it is sunny, then the energy will be charged mainly from photovoltaics and when cloudy and the battery is full, power will come from that part of the charger. Just in the case when the battery reaches its lower limit, electricity will begin to be drawn from the grid during charging.

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