Solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations were installed last week at seven locations across Redstone Arsenal to help support the Army’s goal of an all-electric, light-duty, nontactical vehicle fleet by 2027.
The portable stations are each equipped with two charging cables, allowing two vehicles to be charged simultaneously. The stations are to be used only for government fleet vehicles.
“Here on Redstone, we have a mix of gas-powered vehicles but we’re transforming into a typical electric fleet,” Garrison Commander Col. Brian Cozine said Jan. 18 at the Garrison headquarters parking lot, where one of the stations was installed. “As we see this fleet being brought onto the installation, we can move these charging stations around to where we see a surge, a heavy density of these vehicles.
“Over the next four or five years, we’re expecting to see our electric vehicle fleet grow, and it’s important that we can meet the demand” for charging stations, Cozine said.
Don Henderson, energy manager at the Garrison's Directorate of Public Works, said two standard charging stations – with two plugs each and tied to the electric grid – are already at Garrison headquarters and the motor pool, and two others are installed at the police station and Sparkman Center but not yet in operation.
According to Henderson, the new self-sustaining stations aren’t tied to the installation’s electric grid. Site surveys were completed by DPW’s master planning to ensure easy vehicle access and maximum sunlight availability. Each station’s 43-kilowatt solar panel array automatically adjusts to follow the sun’s path, ensuring 25% more power generation than a stationary panel, according to Henderson.
Jason Bray, a program manager with the Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, said the center handled acquisition and contract and program management for a total of 367 charging stations being installed at Redstone and 49 other installation sites across the U.S.
A solar charging station “helps Redstone as well as the other installations meet some of their green initiatives,” Bray said.
The Corps of Engineers awarded TechFlow the contract to secure and deliver electric vehicle charging stations. The $30.4 million agreement covers the 50 installation sites.
TechFlow chose Beam Global’s EV ARC 2020 solar electric vehicle charging system for the sites.
“Within the next year, we anticipate 17 total charging stations,” Henderson said. “We currently have 11 installed, with six more EV charging stations funded.” Those locations are still to be determined, he said.
Battery storage under the solar panels allows charging at night or during cloudy and rainy weather, according to Henderson.
“(The stations will) charge vehicles up to (a range of) around 265 miles, depending on the vehicle and its battery size,” he said.
The Army’s Climate Strategy, released in February 2022, also calls for installations to field an all-electric nontactical vehicle fleet by 2035. The document notes that there are more than 130 Army installations around the world.
Other intermediate objectives for installations include:
· Installing a microgrid on every installation by 2035.
· Achieving on-site carbon pollution-free power generation for Army critical missions on all installations by 2040.
· Providing 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity for Army installations’ needs by 2030.
· Achieving 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from all Army buildings by 2032, from a 2005 baseline.
Attaining net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from Army installations by 2045.