The potential of solar electric charging is great. But solar power comes at a cost, right? No question, solar “power isn’t free,” despite the fast falling cost of PV. Installation alone costs money, not to mention the capital expenditure. However, there are many ways to make it immediately more affordable.
One viable method is to utilize PACE, a federal program that enables property owners to pay off their cost over a manageable 15-20 years, and yet enjoy full use of the unique technology from its inception. If the business were to recognize an amenity such as solar electric car-charging for its customers, they could invest in branding development to distinguish themselves from their competition. A coffee shop such as Starbucks or strip mall with tenants like Starbucks and Chase might consider it for their customers while they enjoy their shopping or a leisurely break. Initially, it would be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
With the high premium San Francisco places on sustainability, savvy businesses of all sizes will seriously consider providing this service to demographics in sunny neighborhoods such as the Mission, Potrero Hill, and SOMA.
Yet another means of providing this service is to offer utilities such as PG&E a grid-independent means by which to show charging firms’ vision by offering to connect to the grid, as well. This could likely represent the future accelerated development of the smart grid as well as interoperability of novel alternative energy devices such as Envision’s EV ARC.