Integrating EV Charging with C&I Solar: A Powerful Combination for C&I Solar Developers and EPCs

The rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs) has created a significant demand for charging infrastructure, particularly at commercial and industrial (C&I) sites. As more companies seek to provide EV charging for their employees and visitors, C&I solar developers and EPCs have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this trend by seamlessly integrating EV charging solutions with their solar PV systems.


Below, we explore how integrating EV charging with C&I Solar makes a powerful combination for developers and EPCs.


Growing Trend of EV Adoption and Corporate Fleet Electrification

Volatile fuel prices, Clean Vehicle Tax Credits, and a growing awareness of carbon emissions’ effect on climate change have contributed to a rapidly growing EV market. From 2022 to 2023, EV sales in the U.S. surged from 1 million to 1.6 million, a 60% increase. Following this trend, industry analysts forecast a quarter of new car sales to be electric by the end of 2025.


In addition to the general public driving up EV sales, private businesses undergoing corporate fleet electrification are also major contributors due to stakeholder and customer pressure, Environment, Sustainability, and Governance (ESG) goals, and internal budgetary concerns.


Not only are consumers increasingly choosing EVs over combustion engine vehicles, but most major auto manufacturers have announced their plans to eliminate internal combustion engine vehicles and focus only on EVs and alternate powertrains in the coming years.


Although the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allocates $7.5 billion to build a nationwide network of 500K EV charging stations, the current state of the country’s EV-charging infrastructure is unreliable at best and egregious at worst. The subpar condition of the EV-charging infrastructure can be detrimental to companies that rely on sparsely distributed public charging stations, many with long downtimes, broken equipment, and crowded queues.


C&I solar developers and EPCs can leverage their industry knowledge, electrical expertise, and local networks to capitalize on the EV momentum and corner the nascent market for C&I EV chargers and PV systems.


Benefits for Companies Using PV Solar Systems to Power EV-Charging Stations

Despite EVs’ growing popularity, developers and EPCs may still find corporate decision-makers hesitant to move forward with a project. Common objections include initial upfront investment, technical complexity, lack of infrastructure, or load-management issues.


However, developers and EPCs have plenty of benefits to use as counter-examples for these common objections, with five of the most appealing benefits including:


  1. Increasing Fleet Electrification: As more companies electrify their fleets, it only makes sense to have onsite charging capacity powered by renewable solar energy to reduce fuel costs.

  2. Bidirectional Charging as a Resilience Hub: Even when not in use, EVs paired with PV systems and bidirectional chargers can still serve as a battery energy storage option to provide power to critical services and operations during outages or grid downtime.

  3. Employee Benefits: With a tight job market and more consumers transitioning to EVs, companies can offer charging availability as an employee perk to help attract and retain talent. Public-facing companies can also offer charging options for customers.

  4. Optimized Energy Management: Smart EV charging management software can be integrated with the C&I solar PV system to optimize energy usage and distribution. A smart energy management system can help businesses avoid high demand charges, balance their energy loads, and potentially generate revenue by participating in demand response programs.

  5. Achieve ESG Goals: Pairing EV charging with a C&I solar PV system allows businesses to power their charging stations with clean, renewable energy. This combination reduces their carbon footprint and provides a more sustainable and cost-effective solution than relying solely on grid electricity.


N-Type TOPCon PV Modules Help Offset the Initial Costs

Although they offer plenty of benefits, upfront price concerns remain the top priority for every company, so it becomes incumbent upon developers and EPCs to identify every possible solution to offset the initial costs, accelerate pay-off, and ensure long-term customer value.


One option for businesses offering EV charging involves generating additional revenue streams through charging fees. These fees can help offset the costs of the solar PV system and EV charging infrastructure, making the overall investment more attractive and financially viable for C&I clients.


Then, as noted above, participating in demand response programs offers businesses another opportunity to leverage an EV charging station as a potential revenue stream. 


However, both routes involve active tasks that require time and resources, two items many businesses do not have in surplus.


Thankfully, there’s a passive option to offset the initial costs and expedite the customer’s return on investment (ROI): N-type TOPCon PV modules and a total C&I solar solution.


N-type TOPCon PV modules are ideal for C&I solar PV systems paired with EV charging due to significantly higher power output, efficiency, and performance than traditional p-type PERC modules. For example, Trina Solar’s bifacial Vertex N with n-type TOPCon technology has a power output of up to 620W and a 23% maximum efficiency.


This high-power and high-efficiency performance is particularly beneficial for C&I solar PV systems, as it lets developers and EPCs maximize energy generation and utilization within their customers’ limited roof or ground space available at these sites. The additional power can offset the energy demands of the EV charging stations, ensuring a more balanced and efficient system.


N-type TOPCon PV modules also demonstrate superior reliability and durability compared to p-type PERC modules. They exhibit better resistance to potential-induced degradation (PID), improved temperature coefficient, and lower annual degradation rates. This enhanced reliability is crucial for C&I solar PV systems, which are often exposed to harsher environmental conditions and higher operational stresses. The long-term performance and stability of the n-type TOPCon modules can help ensure the longevity and profitability of the overall solar PV and EV charging system — two critical factors for corporate decision-makers.


The technical advantages of n-type TOPCon PV modules and their widespread compatibility with mainstream balance of system (BOS) components make them an ideal choice for integrating with EV charging solutions. C&I solar developers and EPCs can leverage these high-performance modules to create a comprehensive and efficient solar-powered EV charging system that meets their clients' needs. 


As a total solar solutions provider, Trina Solar handles procurement of major PV system components, such as the modules, racking, inverters, and, if needed, trackers and battery storage. The streamlined procurement simplifies the process and ensures optimized component interoperability, which mitigates installation risks and lets developers and EPCs focus on the charging infrastructure and provide excellent customer experience for their clients.


By pairing Vertex N TOPCon PV modules with EV charging and partnering with Trina for a total solar solution, developers and EPCs can offer a turnkey solution that maximizes energy generation, optimizes energy management, and provides a reliable and sustainable infrastructure for their clients' growing EV charging demands. 

Want to learn more about the benefits of Vertex N modules and Trina’s total solar solution? Reach out to our local team today!

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