Solar carports, which provide cheap and decentrally generated green electricity for the charging infrastructure, are increasingly becoming the focus of the charging landscape. The first legal regulations for a “solar obligation” for parking spaces will apply from 2022 for larger systems in new construction for commercial properties. This will also have an impact on smaller ports in the medium term, especially because attractive funding opportunities await them.
Up to now, mono-functional charging stations have been the rule for charging electric vehicles. However, it is also possible to bundle several uses in one unit and turn the whole thing into a visual highlight. The Shade Structures from MDT-tex show how this can be done. They combine a solar system, charging point, shade, weather protection, rainwater harvesting and lighting all in one.
Environmentally friendly “eye-catchers
How environmentally friendly electromobility is in detail also and essentially depends on whether the traction current comes from renewable sources. Green power contracts are only fully effective if new, additional green power plants are created through the payment for the energy. It is even better if the charging current is generated by the vehicle itself, e.g. via solar installations. These are usually installed on the roof of a house, especially in urban areas, but solar carports can also be used to generate electricity. The design is usually based on sober, pragmatic solutions in the form of garage-like constructions with a solar roof. However, if you want to send out spectacular and image-enhancing signals of sustainability instead of being satisfied with mundane functional buildings, you can now also find real “eye-catchers” in the wide range of solar charging facilities.
The company MDT-tex from Hardheim in the Odenwald and the Lake Constance region of Switzerland is a specialist for textile outdoor architecture in the form of high-quality sun, weather protection and solar solutions with innovative membrane materials developed in-house. With a unique portfolio of differently designed sun and weather protection solutions, the company is successful worldwide.
Innovative technologies enable new uses
With the “Solar Solutions” product range, the company now brings together the topics of aesthetic sun protection, sustainable electricity production from solar cells and e-mobility. In addition, the tulip-shaped charging umbrellas, which have already won several awards, can also be used to collect rainwater. This is a welcome additional benefit, especially in regions with low precipitation. The entire upper surface of the umbrellas, which dynamically reach towards the sky, is lined with solar panels. The energy thus generated can either be used directly or alternatively fed into the public power grid. Depending on the location and option, the solar carport thus offers the possibility of supplying the car with energy while working or shopping. Mobile communication devices of all kinds can also be charged, depending on the design of the “Charger screens”. And with an optional buffer or rechargeable battery, vehicles can also be charged without sunshine. A shady “tulip” serves as a shelter and charging point for two electric vehicles; several umbrellas can be arranged modularly either side by side in a row or also as a group. Here symmetrical and asymmetrical versions are available.
Charging station and aesthetic street furniture in one
Predestined locations for the Solar Solutions products from MDT-tex – which also include the newly developed e-bike chargers called “E-Shelters” – are especially squares and mobile stations in public areas. Their function in these areas of application is not limited to the solar charging function alone, but because they can be extended with comfortable seating and charging options for mobile devices, they become pleasant places to stay and meet. Companies and municipalities can, for example, visually enhance their employees or guest parking spaces by placing charging tulips and thus integrate the locations into a homely environment.
Text: Werner Köstle