Tesla Chooses Its Solar PV Provider For China Supercharger Network

Plans for Tesla’s supercharger network in China appear to be coming along nicely, based on what was seen at the recent delivery ceremony for Tesla’s first batch of orders in the populous country.

At the ceremony, Tesla showcased the first two solar PV charging systems designed specifically for the country’s network — requested by Tesla, but designed and manufactured by Hanergy Solar Group, the first of these systems will soon be rolled out in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

hanergy tesla
Image Credit: Hanergy

Hanergy was apparently Tesla’s first choice for the first PV Supercharger station in China. Commenting on that, Tesla’s founder Elon Musk had this to say: “In the future, Tesla will work with partners to build supercharger network. The first charging station in Beijing was built in cooperation with Hanergy Solar Group. Tesla will continue to invest in the construction of superchargers in China, aiming to quickly expand the network.”

The two systems on display at the ceremony are actually quite different, though — variations on the same theme for sure, but still quite different approaches.

The press release provides some details on that:

The Beijing carport, a mobile carport designed to be assembled and transported, adopts Hanergy’s GSE flexible thin-film solar modules. The Shanghai carport will be a fixed structure, and adopts Hanergy’s MiaSole CIGS high-efficiency modules. The first phase of both carports has been completed.

The PV charging system by Hanergy Solar Group protects vehicles like ordinary carports, while (at the same time) converting sunlight into electricity (via) its solar rooftop. At the same time, the system charges the electric vehicle through its energy storage system. The system uses the CIGS thin-film PV technology, the most advanced in the world. With conversion rates peaking at 20.5%, this technology offers light weight, flexibility, excellent low-light performance and advanced packaging. More importantly, no fixed column is required, which significantly reduces the cost.

It’s worth noting (though, should probably have been assumed to be the case) that the solar chargers work at night, as well as during the day. “Of course they do,” you might be saying, but it’s apparently a relatively common misperception that such solar systems can’t be easily rigged-up with batteries to function at night. Wonder where people might have gotten that idea…

tesla china
Image Credit: Hanergy

In a recent interview on Dialogue — a China Central Television program — Elon Musk noted that Tesla considers China to be a very important market, and that large investments would be made into the country as a result. These investments will include the building of seven Supercharger networks in the country.

Speaking on the matter of the new chargers, Ms Zhang Qingliang, Vice President of Hanergy Global Solar Power and Application Group, stated: “We are pleased to be the one to provide Tesla the first batch of solar powered Supercharging stations in China. As a technology-driven company, Hanergy has been actively exploring ways to utilize its thin-film photovoltaic technology to provide solutions through technological innovation and cross industrial integration. We have been working with multiple domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers to integrate solar, and is also researching on energy storage, photovoltaic car roof and other solar-automobile applications.”

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