Riverside, California – A new project will turn the University of California into a leader in electric vehicle recharging powered by the sun.

The Center for Environmental Research and Technology at Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering has received a US$2 million grant to build solar arrays, advanced battery storage, vehicle charging stations, an electric trolley and a grid management system to provide clean energy efficiently for “green” vehicles. The two-year project is supported by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and involves a number of public and private partners.

The funding will allow the university to install up to two megawatts of solar arrays and two megawatt hours of lithium battery storage systems at three locations on and near the campus. The solar energy will be used to charge vehicles directly at several sites on campus, and at additional sites throughout Riverside.

In partnership with the City of Riverside and Riverside Public Utilities, engineers at the university will design methods to direct the solar energy to electric vehicle charging in a way that minimizes loads on the grid and demands for electricity generated from non-renewable resources. The system will support the growth in manufacturing and demand for plug-in electric vehicles.

Additionally, the university plans to convert a trolley from diesel to electric power to shuttle students and area residents around the campus.

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