OPN Architects was asked to generate several approaches to the design of a solar electric vehicle charging station at the University of Iowa. OPN prepared four distinct concepts for the solar array’s support superstructure. OPN consulted with GoSolar, one of the state’s leading solar power specialists, to provide the panel design.
The Solar Station was completed in the summer of 2011 and features the largest solar array in the state of Iowa. The south-facing 180-foot solar photovoltaic (PV) array generates an estimated 70,000 kWh of energy annually — that allows for a projected reduction in gasoline use by 15,686 gallons. It is also enough energy to recharge up to 40 campus utility vehicles on a sunny summer day or provide enough energy for seven average homes in Iowa for a year (a typical home uses 800 kWh per month).
Charging an electric vehicle at the station takes about three hours and provides a 30-mile charge. One stall is used as an education resource and for experimental vehicle testing by the UI College of Engineering.
The surplus power generated by the station will be distributed back to the UI power grid. The station supplies 120/240V of electricity and features a data network connection to the UI Energy Control Center for system tracking and analysis.
The University of Iowa’s Solar Charging Station was funded by a coalition including the Office of Energy Independence, Department of Energy, UI Facilities Management, UI Office of Sustainability, and UI Parking & Transportation.