UCF is taking another step toward becoming a more environmentally friendly campus by providing a way to charge electric vehicles. The solar charging station is located in the D1 lot on the east side of Memory Mall.

This project allows UCF to charge electric vehicles by plugging them into an electrical outlet at the station. The carport uses solar panels to produce electrical energy.

On Feb. 12, the station began feeding power back into the main power grid of the campus, which reduces UCF’s electric bill.

The project will be a producer of monthly recurring income as opposed to having a monthly cost, said Adrian Baus from Matern Professional Engineering Inc. “This facility provides a working demonstration that, on a net energy basis, electric vehicles can be powered from the sun, a very clean and abundant source of renewable energy,” said Baus, who is a design engineer of the project.

Construction began in November, and the station opened in January. The total cost of the project was about $380,000, including structural construction, solar panels and electronic hardware. The cost was covered by a research grant from the Florida Energy Systems Consortium.

There is no monthly cost for operation and maintenance of the panels, said John Shen, who is the principal investigator of the project and a professor in the UCF School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. If a vehicle uses more than 10 kilowatt-hours of power, there is a charge for the electricity from the campus’ power grid, Shen said. Otherwise, use of the carport is free. There is a plan to have a payment mechanism installed.

The solar charging station provides four parking spots, each with its own charging outlet for a vehicle.

Source: Central Florida Future, by Savannah Stegall. To continue reading, visit Solar charging station planned for student use. Published: Sunday, February 21, 2010, updated Sunday, February 21, 2010. Photo credit Savannah Stegall.