NRG EVgo and Princeton Power Systems Showcase the Future of Green EV Charging at Solar Decathlon

Oct. 9, 2015
So what’s ahead for green EV charging tech? NRG EVgo and Princeton Power Systems are offering a glimpse at this year’s Solar Decathlon.

An electrical socket is probably the most disinteresting technology in any home. But place a charging system in a city parking lot for the first time — one meant for an electric vehicle — and you’ll inevitably find people standing around marveling.

And for good reason. EVs promise to radically change transportation. Creating efficient and green EV charging is crucial to this transformation, as electric vehicles become integral to many future microgrids — indeed the central grid.

So what’s ahead for green EV charging tech?  NRG EVgo and Princeton Power Systems are offering a glimpse at this year’s Solar Decathlon.

The team partnered to provide solar powered charging technology for Team Orange County’s (University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College) entry into the decathlon.

Sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy, the biennial event challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective and energy efficient. The 20 national and international teams are demonstrating their projects from October 8-18, 2015, at the Great Park in Irvine, Calif.

The NRG EVgo and Princeton Power Systems technology showcases a first-of-its-kind “CA-10” power converter. The station not only charges an electric vehicle (at a rate of 10 kW) directly from the home solar array, but also allows power to flow back to the grid. The CA-10 maximizes the DC power output from the solar array and through a DC-DC converter provides DC fast-charging directly to the electric vehicle.

This is a highly efficient charging system. The direct DC-DC conversion reduces losses associated with power conversion by over 50 percent, maximizing efficiency and reducing charging time, according to the companies. It is currently compatible with vehicles supporting the CHAdeMO charging standard, such as the Nissan LEAF.

The station can also output power to the grid, or the home when the grid is not available. It meets UL and safety requirements to allow ease of permitting and resident peace of mind.

NRG EVgo is donating the CA-10 product to the UC Irvine team, while Princeton Power is providing design consulting and on-site support. The green EV charging station is based on Princeton Power’s DRI-10 4-port hybrid inverter and will be the first solar fast-charger UL listed to both 1741 and 2202 for grid-interaction and car charging respectively.

“Team OC’s entry into the Solar Decathlon is more than just a forward-looking technology demonstration,” said Darren Hammell, co-Founder and chief strategy officer at Princeton Power Systems. “By partnering with companies that are leading the deployment of electric vehicles, solar energy, and charging infrastructure, the team is showing what is possible today when industry and academia collaborate.”

NRG EVgo commissioned Princeton Power Systems to develop the green EV charging technology, and is a sponsor of the UCI team.

“NRG EVgo is a leader in deploying electric vehicle infrastructure across the U.S.,” said Scott Fisher, director, alternative energy at NRG EVgo. “Our collaboration with Princeton Power Systems and Team OC allows us to better understand how next-generation charging stations can benefit our customers.”

If you’re in Irvine, California stop by and take a look. The decathlon is open to the public.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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