Sun-Tracking EV Charger, Made In Maryland

The parking lot between a SunTrust bank and a gas station is the newest location to charge an electric vehicle (EV) in Bethesda, Md. Although not the first EV charging station to be installed in Montgomery County, the Solar Power Pole is the first sun-tracking solar-powered electric vehicle charger manufactured and assembled in Maryland.

Designed to charge two vehicles at a time, the Solar Power Pole system consists of a 1.41-kilowatt, six-panel PV array mounted atop an 18-foot-tall pole. The system uses GPS-based tracking technology to follow the sun throughout the day, yielding efficiency gains of 30-45 percent over a fixed solar array, according to manufacturer Advanced Technology & Research (ATR). The pole-mount design keeps the system’s curbside footprint small, making it suitable for placement in urban and densely populated areas.

sun-tracking electric vehicle charging station

image via Advanced Technology & Research

Columbia., Md.-based ATR says the grid-tied Solar Power Pole system produces an average of 7.5 kilowatt-hours per day. Information on the system’s production and power supply to EVs is monitored and can be viewed by the system owner over the internet.

Whatever power is not used to charge an electric vehicle is fed back onto the electric grid, earning renewable energy credits under Maryland’s solar energy production incentive. The system also qualifies for federal and state rebates as a renewable energy generator. Plus, Maryland offers a tax credit for electric vehicle purchases, and aims to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2022.

EarthTechling is launching a weekly green deals service in fall 2011 called Green Earthling Deals. Sign up for the weekly email by Wednesday, August 17, and you’ll be entered to win a 1st Step Weather Station from Urban Green Energy!

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).


  • Reply August 17, 2011


    The station actually belongs to a company that makes EV charging stations called SemaConnect. u00a0ATR probably integrated it. u00a0So they put a solar panel on someone else’s charging station, eh.

    • Reply August 17, 2011


      Please excuse the above comment, someone placed my e-mail into the “Post as” comment.nThank you for understanding.

  • Reply August 18, 2011


    How much did it cost installed? I could be interested.

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