Solar powered electric truck stop opens in California


WattEV has officially opened the world’s largest solar-powered truck charging station in Bakersfield, California. The facility is equipped with a 5.7 MW solar array, featuring a pre-wired racking system from Australian solar manufacturer 5B, designed for rapid deployment and minimal installation costs. Additionally, a 2.7 MWh energy storage system is integrated into the plant to mitigate peak demand charges from the numerous truck chargers.

The depot boasts extensive technical capabilities, including:

  • 5.7 MW solar array
  • 2.7 MWh of battery storage
  • 16 dual-cord 360 kW grid-connected chargers
  • 15 single-cord 240 kW CCS chargers
  • 3 MCS 1,200 kW rapid chargers

To better understand how the solar-plus-storage systems are integrated into the facility, pv magazine USA consulted Umar Javed, the president of WattEV. Umar detailed the specific power management across the chargers:

The 15 CCS chargers of 240 kW are powered by solar and battery storage only.  Each group of 5 of these chargers is powered by a 1.2 MW power cabinet. That same power cabinet is connected to a 1.2 MW MCS charger. The power cabinet contains internal DC power allocation. All the power can go to one MCS or to 5 CCS and other power sharing profiles in between. This design allows for transition from the current CCS standard to MCS.

WattEV’s press release detailed how the integration of the 240 kW CCS and 1,200 kW MCS chargers with the onsite solar facility is managed by software designed to optimize solar generation with scheduled truck charging needs, specifically to minimize demand charges. This system ensures operational continuity even during grid outages.

The solar power portion of the facility is currently 5.7 MW, with plans for future expansion to 25 MW alongside increased charging capabilities.

WattEV opted for 5B’s Maverick solar deployment system, which consists of 90 modules per package, with four packages fitting into a shipping container. According to the company’s website, each module within the packages uses solar panels rated between 550 and 580 watts. Each package of 90 modules totals about 50 kW of solar. The company states that a crew of three to four can install a megawatt of modules in a week.

The project was awarded a $5 million grant from the State of California in 2021.

Strategically located on State Highway 99, a key freight corridor, the Bakersfield site is ideally situated to serve major agricultural and industrial regions in California. This location leverages high traffic volumes and serves as an essential node in WattEV’s broader network plans.

WattEV intends to replicate this model at other key freight corridors, planning to augment both solar capacity and charger availability. This expansion, integral to their broader Truck-as-a-Service (TaaS) strategy, aims to enhance long-haul electric trucking across California.

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