Container-based Electric Vehicle charge stations can provide self-funded, neighborhood-based, power and broadband communications. Charge stations and community wireless provide resiliency and revenue.
There are two goals for this paper:
(1) Plan for an energy future with the lowest emissions.
(2) Provide for resilient communications after the expected earthquake.
A parking lot solar shelter kit that holds 32 panels might cost $6K. The 32, 320 watt panels ($400 each), might cost $12K, and assembly might be another $2K. That totals about $20K (before any credits) for providing 10 Kilowatts of power. In six hours of sun, it could charge a 60kW/hr battery, like the Leaf+.
That’s a lot of resiliency. And the electric car can be rented out.
It provides 3-4 revenue sources:
(1) Car rental.
(2) Electric car charging.
(3) Solar electricity purchased by power company.
(4) Community Broadband Wireless
Power can be provided to the neighborhood after an outage, while revenue from car charging, car/bike rental, and community wireless make it self-sustaining. And profitable.
Communications after a subduction zone earthquake may be nearly impossible. Solar-powered wireless (with satellite backhaul) can be faster and cheaper than cellular. Everything in one container. Easily shipped. No installation. Self-contained. Self-supporting.
Charge stations make electric transit practical in both rural and urban neighborhoods where many people live in apartments or condos without access to car charging facilities. These community charge stations can also provide resiliency. Bird sells scooters to entrepreneurs at cost, then takes a 20 percent cut from the ride revenue. Tesla may carshare as well, taking 30% off the top.
Solar pays for itself. But with a shared electric car or scooter, the whole thing might be paid off in 3 years instead of 12 years. Shared electric vehicles could generate $300-$600 per month. Public EV charging generates additional revenue. Solar charge station provide community resiliency…and broadband communications…as a “free” benefit.
The Oregon Senate passed HB 2618 on June 29th, 2019 – a BIG win for solar rebates in Oregon. Rebates will begin being issued in January 2020. There will be approximately $1.5 million over two years for rebates.
- 25% of the program is set aside for projects for low-income ratepayers or low-income service providers
- The rebate is restricted to residential projects or commercial projects for low-income service providers
- Residential low-income projects can access a rebate of up to $5,000 or 60% of the project, whichever is less
- Other residential projects can access a rebate of up to $5,000 or 40% of the project, whichever is less
- The cost of the system is the “net cost” which subtracts other incentives – such as Energy Trust or local incentives – a project might receive. However, federal tax credits are not taken into account for the net cost of a project.
- If solar is paired with storage, a low-income storage project can access a rebate of up to $2500, or 60% of the cost of the storage system, whichever is less
- If solar is paired with storage on other residential projects, the storage system is eligible for up to $2500 or 40% of the cost of the storage system, whichever is less
- A commercial project for a low-income service provider is eligible for up to $30,000 or 50% of the cost of the system, whichever is less; if the project is paired with storage, the project is eligible for $15,000 or 60% of the cost of the storage system
- The program sunsets January 2, 2024
A Self-Funded Resilient Network
An investment in a solar array may take more than 10 years to pay back when electricity is sold back to the power company at wholesale rates. But revenue from an EV charge station would increase income dramatically. A (shared) electric car can also act as a community battery. Partners like bike/car sharing benefit as well.
➤ A 6K solar system might cost $12-14,000 but only “makes” about $800/year and takes 12-18 years to back back if the power is sold back to the utility around $0.10 per KW/hr.
➤ But if that same solar system could be used to charge electric vehicles (retailing at $.30-$.50 per kW/hr), that 6 KWatt installation might be paid off in 1/3rd the time.
Using 4 hours of full sun each day, a 6kWh solar array x 4 hours would generate an average of 24 kWhs per day. Times 30 days, that’s about 750 kWhrs per month. At 10 cents per kWhr, that’s only $75 a month income/credit. The average solar system payback time in Oregon can be much shorter.
Solar’s cost, currently around $1 per watt, continues to decline despite Chinese tariffs. Oregon’s Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC), sunset at the end of the 2017, and cut the cost of a typical rooftop system by as much as $6,000, but it’s being offset by cheaper, more efficient panels.
The Federal Investment Tax Credit allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes, with 2019 the last year when you get a full 30%. It gets reduced to just 10% in 2022 for commercial installations.
A self-funding, resilient network, may require more income to attract investors. That’s the basis for this proposal. We believe an Electric Vehicle charge station, a broadband wireless hub, a coffee shop or a car/bike share businesses like Lyft and Uber could generate revenue, provide a real public service, and save everyone money.
Mapdwell is the most advanced rooftop-solar mapping tool available, showing the solar potential for all Portlanders in cooperation with Energy Trust. Net Zero buildings run 100 percent on renewable energy. Resilient Cities can adapt and transform after disasters.
Microgrids at California firestations are designed to provide at least three hours of backup power during utility outage. One fire station, with electric power from solar and battery storage, provided for about 13 hours. Solar/microgrids for electric school buses and delivery vehicles might save money and provide community resiliency.
Many inexpensive shipping containers are ten or twenty feet long and 8 feet high. The OffGridBox is a 6’x6’x6’ steel container, with 12 solar panels (3.36kw), 15 kWh of battery storage and a water purification system.
The OffGridBox costs about $15,000 and comes with a BuyBack Program. Eight, SunPower 400 watt panels (made in Hillsboro) should produce 3.2 kWatts or an average of about 12 KWatt/hours per day. That may top off an older Leaf electric car. A 3 kW system costs about $3/Watt ($9K), less 30% federal tax credit, or $6K. A used EV might cost another $5K-$10k.
A Community PrepHub could supplement the containers’ self-sustaining electric and communications gear, providing water, hand-held radios, first aid supplies, and other post-earthquake resources.
DISCLAIMER: The author is not a licensed solar installer. Whenever possible, actual products and services are linked, although this paper does not recommend specific technologies. This paper overviews current options, with rapid marketplace change expected. Professional advice should be sought.
Oregon’s Legislative Environment
Oregon is one of 22 states in the US Climate Alliance. Oregon Lawmakers plan to curb carbon emissions with the 2019 Clean Energy Jobs bill. In 2016, Oregon’s Legislature passed a landmark energy bill, called the Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan to provide 25 percent of renewable electricity by 2025.
Oregon’s renewable standard will require 50 percent of customer’s electricity to be from renewable resources by 2040, using cap-and-trade to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Tradable Instruments for Global Renewables (TIGR) is an online platform for tracking and trading Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
The 2019 Leaf+ features 200 mile range, 100 kW charging, and Vehicle 2 Grid. The car can act as a community battery. Nissan’s No Charge to Charge program provides free 30-minute DC Fast charges and 60-minute Level 2 charges for 24 months.
A 12-kwh lithium-ion battery pack on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the only plug-in hybrid with a CHAdeMO quick-charge port that can act as a community battery. The 2019 Outlander PHEV goes about 25 miles on its battery before the car switches to gas.
Low or moderate income Oregon residents are eligible for rebates of $2,500 on used electric vehicles (EVs) and $5,000 on a new EV, from the state. That way, money from fuel (electricity) made in the state, stays in the state.
The transition to electrified transportation is accelerating rapidly, with half of 2040 car sales expected to be electric.
The Charging Network
ChargePoint, the nation’s largest charging network, has around 60,000 charging spots in 43 states, but only about 1,000 are Level 3 (Fast Charging, in 30 minutes or so). The EVgo network has more than 1,100 public fast chargers running in 66 metropolitan areas across the U.S., while Electrify America, is planning to install more than 2,000 DC Fast Chargers at nearly 500 sites across 40 states.
Electrify America may combine charging with local energy storage using Tesla’s Powerpacks which store 50 kW/hrs or more in their industrial-size batteries.
Many Level 2 chargers are free to use, but you’ll have to pay for Fast Level 3 charging. JuiceNet predicts when EV owners will charge their vehicles, enabling the utility to adjust demand/response. That’s going to be a necessity when EV penetration grows above 20%, in just a couple of years.
A public fast charging (Level 3) station will charge most EVs some 80% in 30 minutes. Fast chargers make it practical for apartment/condo dwellers (such as those on Hayden Island), to “fill-up” while shopping.
It can also make money. Electricity costs $.10 per kw/hr but retails for $.40 kw/hr. Making a $6 profit on an $8 (20 kW) fill-up, might generate $25-$50/day with 4-8 fast charges a day or a projected $1000/month in profit. A fast (Level 3) charger might pay for itself in 2-3 years. Before rebates.
A Level 2 charger provides community resiliency. A 6-8 k/watt solar array might charge an EV with 6 hours of sun if grid power is lost. A system like Solar Edge uses “power optimizers” on every panel which prevents shaded panels from reducing the power transfer of the entire array. It still requires a string inverter at the end, but it’s cheaper than using AC microinverters on every panel…and it’s more efficient.
West Coast Green Highway
The West Coast Green Highway stretches the 1,350 mile length of Interstate 5, through Washington, Oregon, and California with public charging stations for electric vehicles. The fast charge technology allows drivers to re-charge vehicles like the Nissan Leaf in under 30 minutes. Each location also includes Level 2 equipment to re-charge most plug in electric vehicles in 4 hours or so.
Fast Charge Network for Truckers
The West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative will explore how best to provide EV charging on Interstate 5 for heavy-duty electric trucks. The “fast-charging” stations could cost between $15,000 and $90,000 each, providing up to one megawatt of power.
Charge Station Summary
Privately financed charged stations such as Blink, Charge Point and EVgo, WILL provide charge stations for urban areas. But these charge stations are tied directly into the power grid. They have no solar resiliency. They CANNOT provide power after an event like an earthquake.
This proposal suggests neighborhood charge stations (costing $25K-$50K) should include solar panels (for resiliency) and be owned and operated by NEIGHBORHOODS. Community-owned, solar-powered charge stations provide both community resiliency (after an earthquake) and community empowerment. An electric vehicle provides the battery. Sunshine can recharge it.
Community Charging Container Components
1. Electric Vehicle charge stations fit in one 20 ft container. It utilizes 6 KW of solar, battery storage, and Level 2 or Fast Charging for EVs. The solar panels and inverter are connected to a $1300 ClipperCreek, 7.7 kW Level 2 station (or similar) that can charge two vehicles simultaneously. It automatically splits power between two vehicles providing up to 16 amps each when both vehicles are charging or 32 amps into one car.
The SolarEdge Single Phase Inverter ($1300) combines 2 power sources (PV and grid) for faster car charging at less cost. It connects the electric vehicle to both solar panels and the power grid.
The Solar Edge EV-charging inverter, combining grid and solar power, enables community resiliency. Revenue from private car charging allows these hubs to be paid off much more quickly then grid-tied “community solar” (at 10 cents per Kwatt/hour from the local utility). Resilient. Cheap. Federal tax credits pay up to 30 percent of the cost.
2. Community Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum provides community broadband for a radius of 1-5 miles using 3.5 GHz — available on phones this year. One 20 ft container, with a utility pole mast, delivers communications resiliency. Shared spectrum at 3.5 GHz is the law. CBRS Release 3 supports 5G in the shared 3.5 GHz band.
An outdoor Ruckus 910 3.5 GHz radio (above) costs about $2,500. A $5,000 package might include the tower and controller electronics.
How fast is CBRS? A single 20 MHz channel can deliver 400 Mbps. Using 4×4 MIMO, with a total bandwidth of 60 MHz, a client device that supports two or three streams would easily top 1 Gbps or more. Far cheaper than fiber to the home…and mobile.
CellCos plan to use “free” 3.5 GHz spectrum for “5G” but will utilize Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) which REQUIRES users to pay for regular cellular service. MuLTEfire is more like WiFi. You don’t have to be a cellular subscriber. Anyone can put up a 3.5 GHz antenna and provide LTE. It will take a few years before phones have 3.5 GHz built-in (like WiFi). But support is here now in some phones and “unlicensed” LTE service is expected to roll out in 3Q 2019.
3. Bike/scooter sharing, funded by Uber or Lyft (Motivate), could be housed at the Hub. Bikes and scooters can be tracked with the 900 MHz wireless link. A coffee shop or bike share provides additional revenue…and Last Mile transportation.
4. Electric transit could save thousands every month. On demand or scheduled. Why burn money up? A McKinsey analysis found shared “seamless” mobility could accommodate 30% more traffic while cutting travel time by 10% by 2030. Lyft will allow drivers to rent electric vehicles using their Green Mode.
5. Personal Tracking
Tracking and monitoring things (like pets or meters), can now be done inexpensively, over a 5-10 mile range, in the latest version of MuLTEfire (using both 3.5 GHz and 900 MHz). Similarly, LoRa devices, using the unlicensed 900 MHz band, can track people and things at virtually no cost (and without cellular fees).
Vehicle to Grid
If grid power is lost or unavailable, solar power kicks in. A single 13.5 kWatt/hr Tesla Powerwall can supply 500 watts X 20 hrs or 10 kWatt/hrs. That’s our working power budget. No A/C, 100 watts for satellite, 200w for CBRS, 200w for lights & misc gadgets. Is it a stingy power budget? Yes.
Leaf’s CHAdeMO fast charging remains easier to find than CCS (Combo) used in other long-range hatchbacks like the Chevy Bolt EV or Hyundai Kona Electric.
An electric car might eliminate the need for batteries in the container. Electric cars provide more battery capacity, more flexibly, and they’re relatively cheap. A used Leaf costs $5,000-$10,000. If you dedicate 30kW/hrs of a 60 kW/hr car battery to running a building, that’s 10 hours at 3k Watts per hour.
A used 30kW/hr Nissan Leaf ($10,000) would provide twice the power of a 13kW/hr Tesla Powerwall ($7,500) AND could be rented through Turo, generating $330/month income and paying itself off in 3 years. No gas. Arcimoto has a $12,000 three-wheeled electric vehicle.
Optionally, a grid-tied Fast Charger provides 30 minute DC charging (60kW-100kW). Hitachi’s V2X Charger and Princeton Power Systems provide bi-directional charging that can recharge a car or put that energy back in the building or grid.
Honda will include V2G in its new electic vehicles as well as inexpensive (Level 2) EV chargers (see below).
When the building produces more solar power than it needs, the surplus is stored in the car battery. The stored energy can then be discharged back into the grid and make some money. Nissan Energy Share continuously monitors a building’s electrical loads, looking for opportunities to periodically draw on the LEAF’s battery.
A vehicle with a 200-mile range using a 60kW battery could run a typical house, including air conditioning, for two to three days. With 4 hours of good sunlight daily, a 15 KWatt solar array might deliver 60kW hours back into the car’s battery. An Air Force Base is testing V2G in a 34-vehicle fleet with a total battery capacity of 996 kWh.
That’s power for driving, utility buy-back, or for emergencies. Self-contained charge stations, located near community centers and apartments, could provide charge stations where not otherwise available and provide community emergency power. A free benefit.
Electric Vehicle Rental
Rent the car. A Nissan LEAF e+, hooked to a 100 kW charger, can fill-up in about 30 minutes.
The Tesla Network will “enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it.” The car’s default key is a phone app which connects to the car with bluetooth and unlocks when you walk near with a paired phone. This enables temporary keys to be sent out to people who rent the vehicle.
The Broadband Wireless Network
Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is a new 150 MHz wide band, centered around 3.5 GHz. It’s like WiFi (free spectrum), but uses LTE or 5G for voice and data. The FCC has approved initial commercial deployments by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony.
CBRS LTE service can be deployed quickly for a better tenant experience, and can be used to automate building security and energy management. It works on phones. MOST phones will support CBRS Band 48 in a year, much like most all smartphones support WiFi today.
This resilient broadband network can cost/effectively piggyback on neighborhood solar carports while providing essential services.
The shared spectrum technology, which is just rolling out, may be run by third party hosts like Amazon, Google or others in a public/private partnership. Equal access provisions insure competition. A community broadband business agreement might resemble the agreement between Biketown (the city) & Nike (the sponsor).
Municipal fiber would cost consumers 2-5 times more for the same 100 Mbps–1 Gbps performance…with no mobile access.
It’s basic economics. Wireless is more affordable than fiber. Digital equity manifest.
Sprint’s 1 Gbps LTE uses 2-3 channels (40-60 GHz total bandwidth in their 2.5 GHz band). The initial broadband wireless service would utilize a cloud-managed WiFi hotspot, 5G Hub or Sprint’s 5G hotspot which is actually a 4G “relay”. T-Mobile claims it would deliver “100-Mbits” to two thirds of the US if it merges with Sprint.
5G Release 16 (finalised by March 2020) will feature standalone 3.5 GHz option with voice over LTE/5G. It would be an ideal platform since phones wouldn’t need a traditional cellular operator to provide both voice and data to the end user.
Australia auctioned off their 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G. The USA provides it free. Motorola’s MOTOTRBO Nitro uses the 3.5 Ghz (CBRS) band for LTE voice and data. They run it, you manage it (with a tablet). Motorola’s SLN 1000 walkie talkie is the first CBRS handheld radio. But CBRS will be included in many smart phones in a year or two. Just like Wi-Fi.
We’re focused on off-the-shelf CBRS gear. Phones like Pixel, Motorola, Samsung and LG already have 3.5 GHz built-in, and mobile hotspots with 3.5GHz backhaul are also available off the shelf. The Galaxy S10 has full support for CBRS (band 48) across the product line.
Some 400 megahertz of mid-band spectrum may be available – nearly the combined capacity of the top three carriers. Google’s Spectrum Access System (SAS) costs $2.25 per residence per month, but it only applies to fixed wireless.
Shared spectrum CBRS gear may run $5-$10K, compared to traditional gear on towers which can cost $150K. A 2 year return on investment is expected from RuralStar Lite, a traditional $20K licensed rural cellular solution that uses satellite backhaul. Canonical’s OpenStack open source software eliminates network components under the tower. Software applications run the cellular system on generic hardware in a datacenter.
Open Open Open
OpenRAN is compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G services, with 5G expected in the future. The OpenRAN initiative sits within the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) work with a software-centric approach using commoditised hardware. The aim is to boost interoperability between equipment from multiple vendors. . Parallel Wireless claims its OpenRAN kit can reduce OPEX by a third and macro cell gear by half. No vendor lock-in. Intel is a major backer of the initiative.
Satellite Backbones from ViaSat 2 & 3
Satellites work when cellular is down. High throughput satellites today provide cheaper broadband than any cellular plan. Viasat is working with Facebook for Community WiFi. ViaSat’s business hotspot services can manage WiFi hotspots and brand your Wi-Fi splash page using their satellite business internet for backhaul. Done.
Hughes was awarded $28.3 million to bring satellite broadband to 72,163 locations across New York. Of the $28.3 million, $14.8 million comes from the New York program, and the rest comes from the FCC’s CAF program.Viasat won $122.5 million in free government (CAF-II) funding for Rural Broadband.
ViaSat is providing Community Broadband thoughout Mexico. The State of Oregon could do the same.
Cellular is MORE expensive and LESS resilient. It’s really very simple…broadband data supplied by satellite (50 GB/month) costs about $100/month. That’s cheaper than only 25 GB/month of broadband data supplied by cellular ($100/mo). Satellite works after an earthquake and can be solar powered. Cellular is NOT resilient and more expensive.
U.S. satellite broadband providers Hughes Jupiter-2 (97 West) and ViaSat-2 (70 West) both have massive new geostationary satellites launching in 2020. Hughes Jupiter-3 will deliver half a terabit per second while ViaSat-3 expects to deliver around 1 Terabits/sec. But geosynch satellites are designed to operate for 15 years, making the platforms obsolete and ineffective within a few years, notes SpaceNews.
LEO Backbone Networks
Proposed new LEO internet satellites such as OneWeb, SpaceX Starlink and Telesat all plan LEO broadband constellations starting in 2020. The 331-pound OneWeb satellites are designed “to provide internet to everybody, everywhere” and be deployed in a constellation orbiting at 745 miles.
Instead of one, $250 million satellite, OneWeb plans hundreds of satellites in Low Earth Orbit with lower latency. The SpaceX Starlink would have thousands of satellites at various heights with the best coverage at latitudes between 47° and 52°, north and south.
These LEOs will compete with today’s GEO-based ViaSat and HughesNet. Figure several hundred dollars per month for 100-200 Mbps satellite service to the hub. Tarana Wireless and Echostar plan a Gigabit “last mile” meshed access system.
Broadband LEO satellite backhaul (with reduced latency) should be fully operational in 2021. By that time both 3.5 GHz basestations and phones will be mass market items. The low-cost phased array antennas provide satellite backhaul. CBRS small cells provide local (a mile or so) cellular connectivity.
Here’s a plan for a solar-powered golf cart. It’s self-sustaining through advertising and provides 4800 Kilowatt hours of electricity after an earthquake as well as satellite connectivity.
Geosynch satellite have latencies of 600ms or more, while OneWeb has latencies around 30ms, just a bit higher than a typical cable system. A Cloud-RAN typically needs latencies around 75ms. Could satellite replace fiber to the tower? Telesat successfully demonstrated that Low Earth Orbit satellites can provide effective backhaul for 5G networks with (round trip latency) of 18-40 milliseconds.
In 2021, plugging remote 3.5 GHz basestations into low-latency, LEO satellite backbones like OneWeb or SpaceX Starband, may be a reasonable alternative to fiber. Cellular service not required. It’s Community Broadband.
If LEO satellite proves impractical for a direct link to the neighborhood hub, then we may use an EdgeMicro data center in a shipping container on a hilltop location like the Stonehenge Tower on Council Crest.
The “software basestation” eliminates electronics at the base of neighborhood towers. Open software integrates subscriber management and billing into a common platform in the centralized data center, rather than dedicated hardware for each carrier. That would be managed and operated by Google or Federated Wireless. Multiple carriers can share spectrum and hardware expenses, which is why the CBRS band, at 3.5 GHz, promises cost/effective community broadband.
The CBRS band can be SHARED between licensed carriers (who can purchase their own channels) and private or community users (who may use the “free” channels).
The Facebook-led Telecom Infra Project uses Clear Blue for off-grid power. An Open Network that is carrier neutral may well be managed by Facebook, Google or Amazon. Canonical’s OpenStack eliminates network components under the tower. Instead, 4G/5G service is enabled by software applications running on generic hardware in a datacenter.
Here’s the thing. Microsoft Azure, Google and Amazon Web Services, pioneered container software called Kubernetes. The basestation is software in a datacenter that can run 5G networks anywhere.
Smartphones battled Telcos for control over app stores some 12 years ago. Telcos policed the “walled garden” on flip-phones, controlling pricing and content. With the smart phone platform, Apple and Google broke out. They freed everybody.
Google extracted a 2007 pledge from Verizon in the 700 MHz C Block auction for an “open platform” that “shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the applications of their choice.” AT&T paid almost twice as much for 700 MHz spectrum in the A&B Blocks simply so they could avoid the “open platform” provisions and exert complete control over what apps were available and how much they cost. Ironically, one year later, AT&T’s iPhone became a monster hit. That happened only after AT&T seceded to Apple’s demands for control of the app store. Verizon soon followed with the Android app store.
No carrier has since messed with the blueprint for the “Open Handset Alliance, now used daily in 3 billion smartphones. It’s instructive. Carriers were apoplectic over “app stores” and clueless about its potential. They nearly killed their golden goose. Community LTE, enabled by MuLTEfire, puts carriers on notice. Be competitive or die.
The ability to support both mmWave and 3.5 GHz is key to ensuring full 5G coverage. Commercial carriers may also lease space on the community mast. That’s more revenue for the community-owned non-profit that manages the local hub.
TV White Space for Rural Communities
The FCC has approved TV White Spaces for broadband communications. The FCC says 92 percent of Americans have access to broadband, but Microsoft data indicates that it is closer to 49 percent. Microsoft believes TV white spaces are a viable solution. TV-WS vendors are include Radwin, Redline and Adaptrum.
Microsoft plans to serve 3 million rural Americans in the next 3 years with their Microsoft Airband Initiative. Combining low freqency TV band, centered around channels in the 200-600 MHZ bands, along with high frequency (3.5 GHz) may deliver meaningful broadband (25 Mbps) more cost/effectively than current cellular or satellite solutions. Why isn’t it the law that every rural school in the state has a $25,000 container delivering community broadband?
It would pay for itself. Wouldn’t it? You tell me, I’m not the expert here. I’m just pointing out new opportunities for sustainability and resiliency. It’s AVAILABLE NOW. A window of opportunity exists with the Federal Tax Credit and Portland’s Community Solar program.
A turnkey community wireless solution might use Federated Wireless’ spectrum controller; an Ericsson, Nokia or Ruckus radio; a network mobile core from Athonet; and Amazon’s cloud IoT platform. An outdoor radio with a maximum EIRP of 50 Watts delivers high gain and good range. ExteNet, a leading provider of Neutral Host solutions, has partnered with Federated Wireless to roll out CBRS service in over 1,000 sites. Turnkey. Ready to go. Managed by a “neutral-host” third party.
Open RAN modularizes cellular hardware, removing vendor lock-in. Software-defined mobile networks implement protocol-specific features in software. Together they create a telecommunications revolution that will play out over the next 5-10 years. Intel is all in.
A 25kW array at $3/watt (installed) would cost about $75,000 but rebates from the Oregon Energy Trust Incentive and the Federal Tax Credit can reduce the final cost by almost 75%.
Without income from an EV Charge Station it might take 10-20 years to achieve payback. Revenue from car charging/sharing may reduce payback to 3 years. Self-funded. Self-sustaining. Resiliency a side benefit.
Here’s what’s inside a $25,000 EV charging hub container:
1. 6KW of solar panels ($8K)
2. One, Tesla Power Wall or 2015 Leaf ($10K)
3. Level two connectors for all popular EVs ($2K)
4. Connections for grid power ($2K)
5. Misc. ($3K)
6. Total $25K
Here’s what’s inside the $25K Broadband Container.
1. ViaSat-3 Geosynch Terminal ($1K)
2. OneWeb LEO broadband with flat antenna ($1K)
3. One, 3.5 GHz shared spectrum neighborhood hub ($5K)
4. 3KW of solar panels ($5K)
5. One, Tesla Power Wall or 2015 Leaf ($10K)
6. Misc. ($3K)
7. Total $25K
How could it make money for investors? Two ways; EV charging and community broadband.
1. EV CHARGING: We make $5 per charge and get maybe 10 charges a day ($50/day or $1500/month). A grid-connected DC Fast charger would likely be necessary. EVGo charges 60¢ per kWh, so a 20kW fillup might cost users $12, but electricity costs about 10¢ per kW/hr ($2 per 20kW). When there’s no demand for EV charging, juice is sold back to PGE.
2. COMMUNITY BROADBAND: Community broadband (at 25 Mbps) might generate $20/month per sub. Each 100-200 Mbps hub typically serves up to 50 people at $20/month. That’s $1,000/month. You can order a $180 band 48 mobile WiFi hotspot from Amazon today.
The containerized Charge Station/Wireless Hub might generate $2,500/month which would be close to the cost for the containers and running expenses. After the first 2 years, the $2500/mo revenue from vehicle charging and wireless broadband is mostly profit. Grants and loans help fund the initial CAPEX. The containers are easily transported state-wide. It starts small, building with success.
Blokable’s Vancouver Factory might manufacture the units, perhaps integrated with coffee shops or other facilities. Vancouver’s Phase3 Photovoltaics won a national contest to add solar panels into factory-built homes — making renewable energy more accessible for low-to-middle income, new homeowners.
Can Ford’s self-driving car business improve Austin’s traffic woes? Maybe. Open Transit Data like GTFS feeds enable apps to work together. Portland’s Moovel pioneered multi-modal transportation apps.
Two words: Mobile First.
Stakeholders, partners, and possible funders include, PGE, Pacific Power, Bonneville Power, Energy Trust, PDX Clean Energy Initiative, Oregon Clean Power Coop, Sustainable NW, Portland Emergency Management, FEMA, FCC, DOE, DOT, PNNL, Street Trust, Hacienda CDC, Metro, Forth Mobility, Prosper Portland, Cities, Counties, State of Oregon, Education, Oregon electric and telecom Coops, Lyft, Uber, Neighborhood Associations, etc.
Nissan has an agreement with the city of Yokosuka to provide free Leafs after an emergency to supply energy for heating, cooking, and communications. A similar agreement with Lyft or Uber could provide emergency power for Oregon communities.
The IEEE 1547 Standard interconnect ensures the safety of electric power workers when working on de-energized power lines while providing local residential power from solar or batteries.
The Manheim Kicker
The Manheim Auto Auction on the West side of Hayden Island (near the RR tracks) installed 200 KW of solar several years ago. It sells back the solar electricity to PGE for about 10 cents per kiloWatt/hour.
One study estimated the value of V2G power between $800 to $10,800 income each year for electricity temporarily stored in electric vehicles. Let’s split the difference and say the stored energy is worth $2,500 annually for each car, if the power company needs to source power (from somewhere) that instant.
Twenty cars, then, might create $50,000 income for the Manheim Auto Auction on the West side of the island. That would be equivalent to 1 MW of battery power (50 kW/car X 20 cars) available for peak power by the utility or to supply local power after an outage. The individual cars aren’t stored at the facility long. Fleets of electric vehicles, like school buses, may be another option for stored microgrid power. I’m talking to you, Pacific Power.
Austin’s Doing It
The Austin SHINES project integrates solar, vehicle storage and V2G smart inverters to balance power supply and demand to make power networks more resilient, efficient and cleaner. City-wide it combines 4 MW of solar with 4MW of storage with a goal of $0.14/kWh using distributed solar and storage.
Could Portland achieve $0.10/kWh using juice stored on an EV? Since solar generates electricity for $.03/kWh and the “battery” is a car that is expected to MAKE money. Solar electric power, in this implementation, doesn’t cost money…it MAKES money.
2. EV Charging
3. Community Broadband
4. Bike Sharing
5. Electric Transit Support
6. Tracking without cellular
Municipal fiber or satellite can connect these nodes. Plan on it. You can order a mobile WiFi hotspot today on Amazon with 3.5 GHz CBRS backhaul for less than $180.
This modular “microgrid” approach demonstrates community resiliency AND profitability. V2G provides power to the grid when wind and solar can’t. It may save consumers 15% on their electric bill. It’s designed to be a profitable venture AND provide resiliency for the community.
➤ Solar-enhanced charge stations deliver revenue stream while EVs double as emergency batteries.
➤ Community Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) with satellite backhaul provides resilient broadband and additional revenue.
➤ Stimulates neighborhood economic development with local bike/car share services, food carts, etc.
Is this concept practical? That’s not clear. Due diligence should be applied to this concept. But solar carports and car sharing are proving their worth. The community wireless piece is a bigger unknown. Still, more than ten handsets, 40 infrastructure providers and 30 customers are “ready to launch”. Build it on a small scale now. Grow it as the CBRS wireless and electric car market expands.
Here’s a vision: