The United States Navy cut the ribbon on its first solar-powered electric vehicle charging station this week.
The Naval Support Activity Mid-South base in Millington, Tenn., just north of Memphis, is home to the Navy’s first solar EV charging station. More than 7,500 military and civilian contractors work on the base and will now have the ability to recharge electric vehicles there.
The charging station is powered by a collection of solar photovoltaic carports that will charge the base’s fleet of 17 electric vehicles.
"Naval Support Activity Mid-South is leading the way," NSA Mid-South Executive Office Cmdr. Brad Meeks said at the ribbon cutting. "This is the first solar power charging station in the Navy, and I want to thank our NAVFAC public works team for seeing this project through. Their efforts have ensured NSA Mid-South's role in building a clean, sustainable future for our Navy and our nation."
The carport charging station can restore full power to the base’s electric vehicle in four hours, according to a media release from the base.
It’s also expected to produce more electricity than the EV fleet will need for recharging. The excess electricity will flow back into the local power grid, offsetting the base’s overall energy costs.
The 150-foot carports are equipped with solar-tracking panels that follow the sun throughout the day in order to optimize the power output of the panels. The base’s Public Works department also has the ability to monitor individual panel performance and watch for maintenance issues.
The installation was the Navy’s first, but will not be its last. It was funded through an ongoing $10 million Commander Navy Installations Command project to install alternative and renewable energy fueling stations at 16 bases across the country. Eight others will have stand-alone solar EV charging stations like the one at NSA Mid-South and seven will have E85 alternative fuel stations.
The carport at the Tennessee Navy base was installed in April and has been producing enough electricity to power 60 average American homes.