Renewable Generation to Power the Electrification of Trucks and Buses
The impacts of diesel combustion are substantial, particularly for developing minds and bodies of young children riding in school buses and playing on playgrounds around which these engines operate and idle. The project will advance today's EV bus deployments by validating a scalable and affordable approach to 100% renewable EV fleet charging by co-locating chargers with utility-scale solar. Rural communities have higher per-capita energy use and emissions than urban communities. The project addresses these energy-intensive vehicle routes with zero tailpipe or stack/grid emissions.
The project will deploy 24 EV buses and build out charging depots at three sites with existing 5MW+ utility-scale solar farms in Tully, New Bremen, and Little Falls to validate an approach for a self-sustaining 100% renewable charging facility. The Project Team will work with school districts to identify how utility-scale renewables can reduce lifetime EV total cost of ownership to achieve sustained economic feasibility.
The proposed project will evaluate the capital and operational benefits of co-located EV charging depots at existing utility-scale renewable energy generation sites. By co-locating with existing facilities, these charging stations can avoid costly utility upgrades and shorten deployment timelines. By installing batteries to support the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), operational costs can be reduced by charging during periods when solar electricity value is low and avoid demand charges during charging events. Since school buses are only operational during limited and known periods of the day, school bus fleets with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging infrastructure can participate in ancillary grid services to generate additional revenue and improve resiliency in regions with limited grid infrastructure.
The project will deploy 24 EV school buses in Tully, New Bremen, and Little Falls that will be supported by EVSE integrated in with existing utility-scale solar. Buses will act as batteries and store the power generated. For four hours per day the batteries (buses) will be used for student transportation, thus removing them from the charging station during high cost charging hours. The solution will include linking existing solar arrays, V2G-Capable EVSE, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), V2G-capable electric buses, and proprietary software for managing the system. Waypoints through the project include design and engineering milestones, completion of contracting with final costs identified with the school districts, infrastructure construction completion, and operational data collection.
Community engagement over the three-year period will focus on municipal workforce development and scholarships, driver and fleet operator training, and replication to other communities and schools.