Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 27th May
As public transit fleets evaluate bus electrification to meet zero-emission goals, costly and lengthy construction timelines can hamper deployment. To meet this need, AMPLY Power is working with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions to expand fleet electrification offerings, including the first commercially available combination solar canopy and overhead electric vehicle charging solution covered by a PPA leasing and financing model. The field-tested solution, enabled by the patent-pending Pantograph In-Depot Equipment (PIDE) Canopy Mount, allows fleets to reduce the cost of EV charging while leveraging renewable electricity.
“Solar PPAs and managed charging can help fleet operators double-down on the cost savings that electric vehicles already deliver compared to diesel. Solar power generation is usually an afterthought, and we developed this unique solution after witnessing transit agencies struggling with the costs associated with developing an overhead charging system,” said Vic Shao, CEO of AMPLY Power. “Unlike diesel prices, electricity rate can fluctuate wildly throughout the day, sometimes by as much as 400%, making it impossible to ‘time the market’ and potentially wiping out EV savings. By combining overhead charging with a fixed rate of power, we are helping fleets bring predictability to their budgets and reduce their exposure to high rates.”
Once built and installed in a depot, AMPLY Power and Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will manage the solar charging and maintenance operations via a PPA, a common financing model for the commercial solar industry. The solar and charging agreements extend 20 to 25 years and offer a fixed rate of power with no upfront capital expenditures.
“Our collaboration with AMPLY goes beyond solar carports with overhead chargers,” explained Dan Alcombright, Managing Director of Growth Implementation at Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “We are committed to supporting fleets in reaching their zero-emission targets, while incorporating more resiliency into their operations and reducing their energy costs for charging.”
The full offering from the partners includes all aspects of EV charging infrastructure and solar carports, as well as AMPLY’s Charging-as-a-Service support model. AMPLY simplifies the transition to EVs for fleets by assuming end-to-end responsibility for all vehicle charging needs, from cloud-based system design to installing local site controllers. The company’s proprietary back-end software, OMEGA, and operational methods enable fleets to drive utility costs down by optimizing EV charging and other energy use at both public and private depots. This process maximizes existing electrical capacity to avoid costly utility service upgrades when possible.
Teichert is the design builder of the PIDE canopy mount and solar carports. Customized canopies are designed to complement a variety of parking configurations within a depot and across multiple sites. This maximizes the available parking area while minimizing the impact on site functionality.
The PIDE-enabled system was field-tested during a demonstration in Lancaster, California in March of this year. The demonstration used a BYD K9 transit bus, equipped with overhead charging, and a Schunk Transit Systems SLS 301 pantograph DC fast charger.