• Jul 14th 2010 at 3:58PM
  • 15
Solar charging at the Atascadero Rabobank – Click above for high-res image

Some states have all the luck. The Highway 101 electric and plug-in vehicle corridor in California just got a little sunnier. Rabobank and SolarCity have added 200 kilowatts of solar energy panels to the plug-in vehicle recharging stations the two companies have installed along the highway. When Rabobank's electric vehicle (EV) quick-charging plans were announced last fall, only one station, the one in Santa Monica, had solar power (30 kW). SolarCity is Tesla Motor's preferred solar partner and is partly financed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Solar energy is being collected and fed into EVs at Rabobank branches in Salinas, Atascadero, Castroville, El Centro, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach. Plug In America steering committee member Chad Schwitters drove his Tesla Roadster from Seattle to San Diego last year (he also recharged at some campgrounds) and said:
By far the most pleasant part of my 3,000-mile trip from Seattle to San Diego and back in April was along Hwy 101 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, where I was able to use chargers at Rabobanks in Salinas, Atascadero, Goleta and Santa Maria.
Must be nice.

[Source: Rabobank]


Rabobank and SolarCity Announce Project Financing for Solar Projects, and Six New Solar Installations in California

NEW YORK CITY and FOSTER CITY, Calif., July 13, 2010 – Rabobank and SolarCity today announced a collaboration on a range of new solar projects. Rabobank is providing project financing for numerous solar projects across SolarCity's service areas. Separately, Rabobank, N.A., the community bank, also announced that SolarCity will complete the installation of six new solar power systems on branch locations throughout California.

"We're very pleased that this transaction marks our first solar energy project financing in the U.S. market and is the ninth transaction since we launched our renewable energy business in the Americas less than one year ago," said Ron Klein, managing director with Rabobank's Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Finance (REIF) group in New York. "In the solar space, this is an ideal fit for our portfolio as we continue to look for opportunities in aggregated distributed generation as well as utility scale solar."

In July of last year, Rabobank expanded its successful European REIF business to the Americas, focusing on large-scale renewable energy project financing in the wind, bio-mass and solar arenas. Already, Rabobank has become one of the most active players in the U.S. renewable energy project finance field.

"As a solar company, it is great to see an AAA-rated bank getting into the solar financing business," said Lyndon Rive, chief executive officer of SolarCity. "Rabobank is also adopting its own clean power through its California retail banking arm by signing on with SolarCity to host electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and install solar panels on multiple branch locations."

SolarCity is installing new solar systems at Rabobank branch locations in Atascadero, Castroville, El Centro, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and Salinas. The new installations cumulatively total 200 kilowatts of new solar capacity and are expected to offset an estimated 50 percent of Rabobank's energy use at the six locations. In regard to renewables, Rabobank, N.A. is oriented toward financing solar systems for its commercial clients through its renewable finance team in California.

Several of the solar installations on Rabobank's California branches are already underway, and all are expected to be completed this summer. In 2009, Rabobank and SolarCity collaborated on a series of electric vehicle charging stations co-located at Rabobank branches along highway 101 to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles. The six new solar installations are intended to complete the solar component of the corridor, providing clean, renewable power at or near each EV charging station to offset the electricity needed to charge the vehicles.

"We are committed to supporting solar energy in California, whether on our own branch buildings or with our customers," said Marco Krapels, executive vice president of Rabobank, N.A. and co-chair of Rabobank, N.A.'s Corporate Social Responsibility committee. "Solar energy financing is a part of our effort to promote sustainability and to expand renewable energy financing in our banking business, and in our customer relationships."

About Rabobank International
Rabobank is a global financial services leader providing institutional and retail banking as well as financial solutions for the agricultural and renewable energy sectors in key markets around the world. From its century-old roots in the Netherlands, Rabobank has grown into one of the largest banks worldwide, with more than $850 billion in total assets and operations across 40 countries. Rabobank is the only private bank in the world with a triple A credit rating from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's, and is ranked among the world's safest banks by Global Finance magazine.

About Rabobank, N.A.
Rabobank, N.A., (www.rabobankamerica.com) is a California community bank that provides personalized service and a full array of quality products to individuals, businesses and agricultural clients. With 95 retail branches and 15 financial service centers, we serve the needs of communities from Napa Valley to the Imperial Valley through local decision making and active community involvement by our employees. Rabobank, N.A., is part of the Rabobank Group, one of the world's largest and safest banks.

About SolarCity
SolarCity-a national leader in solar power system design, financing, installation, monitoring and related services-was founded with the mission to help millions of homeowners and businesses adopt solar power, protect themselves from rising electricity costs and protect their environment from polluting power sources. The company's SolarLease®, PurePower™ and Commercial Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) options can make it possible for homeowners and businesses to switch to clean, solar power for less money than they currently pay for electricity. SolarCity currently serves more than 1,000 communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Texas. Additional information about the company is available on the Web at www.solarcity.com

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like EV highways are starting to take off.

      I-5 to become the nation's first electric highway?

      Starting this fall, you're likely to see a new breed of road sign along Interstate 5 for electric vehicle drivers looking for a spot to plug in and recharge.

      With help from a $1.32 million federal grant, the state Transportation Department plans to turn Interstate 5 into the nation's first "electric highway" with enough charging stations so electric vehicles can make the entire 276-mile trip from the Canadian border to the Oregon state line, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Monday.

      State officials are trying to gear up for the large infusion of electric vehicles expected over the next few years. The Nissan Leaf will debut in December along with a large deployment of charging infrastructure in Seattle and four other regions around the country as part of The EV Project, a federal study into the needs and driving habits of electric vehicle drivers.

      The Seattle area is getting 2,500 charging stations as part of the $230 million EV Project. More than half of them will be public. Altogether, 4,700 electric vehicles and nearly 15,000 charge stations will be introduced in four states -- Washington, California, Arizona and Tennessee -- and the District of Columbia. WSDOT's goal with the electric highway is to plug in under-served areas and connect Seattle with Portland, which also is participating in the project.

      WSDOT plans to create a network of seven to 10 Level 3 fast-charging stations along the I-5 corridor. The Level 3 stations are the type that can recharge an electric vehicle's battery within 15 to 30 minutes.

      "We want people to buy electric vehicles with the confidence that they can take longer trips than just around the community and to different cities," Buell said.

      Stations won't be any farther than 80 miles apart. On a full charge, the Nissan Leaf has a maximum range of 100 miles. The Chevy Volt, which also is soon to hit the market, has a maximum range of 40 miles on a charge before its gas-powered generator has to kick in.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Saw my first-ever Tesla roadster two nights ago. Very cool.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it free? If not, how much ?
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's strange, because i lived in those areas ( Central Coast of CA ) and have never seen an EV anywhere.

        • 5 Years Ago
        How many EVs are available for sale at this moment, compared to say, a year from now? Makes sense to start putting these up before thousands hit the road.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, but it's kinda silly. These are pretty small cities, and at banks, so it's more for the locals.

        And converted cars are running around all over in bigger areas. But i grew up in San Luis Obispo county and never seen or heard of a single electric vehicle out there.

        Maybe they get these little ones because the local govt. can't afford to install real ones.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was driving down HWY 85 from Mountain View going to Santa Cruz last sunday and saw a red Tesla Roadster. Tried to catch up to it and get a pic, but that thing was crazy fast. Driver must have been going 85. I saw Martin Eberhard's orange and grey Tesla a couple of months ago. In Northern Cali I saw a Tesla about once a month or so.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Neither of those places qualify as the central coast, though

        Yeah, NorCal has a lot of those running around.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the great part about electric cars, they can get cleaner and have even fewer total emissions with more renewable power installations. Gas cars are going the other way now since they need to get oil that is harder to get and worse quality to start with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is this the case:

      "Solar energy is being collected and fed into EVs at Rabobank branches..."

      Or this?

      "The six new solar installations are intended to complete the solar component of the corridor, providing clean, renewable power at or near each EV charging station to offset the electricity needed to charge the vehicles."

      It seems to me that the collected energy from the solar panels is not going into a battery bank that is used to charge the cars, it seems that the cars are feeding from the overall grid, and the energy from the solar PVs is simply "offsetting" the amount the cars draw.

      It's a small matter of detail - I admit. But the solar panels aren't used to directly charge the cars, are they?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with GoodCheer that it makes a lot more sense to plug in to the grid. You don't HAVE to use the grid, but the solar power gets put to better use that way. It gets used whether EVs show up or not. (I had somebody come up to me at one Rabobank and say he'd never seen an EV use the charging station before).

        I walked around this building when I was charging there, and I didn't see any batteries anywhere. I could have missed them, of course, but I'm pretty sure it's just tied in to the grid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It would be insane to NOT connect the solar panels and/or the EVSE to the grid. Doing so would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of either one. Even if there were a battery bank, how would you insure that the right number of EVs came by to match the amount of solar output, unless you have infinite storage.

        Once they're both connected, you can't trace the electrons, so 'offsetting' is the best you can do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Even if there were a battery bank, how would you insure that the right number of EVs came by to match the amount of solar output, unless you have infinite storage."

        I've been ruminating on this statement. Are you saying that an EV charging station *must* be connected to the grid? I'm not sure that I agree.

        Why would there be a technical issue with using batteries to store the solar PVs' output, and then using those same batteries to recharge EVs?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks, GoodCheer, that's what I thought was happening.

        I'm always happy to hear of new solar PV installations being put in!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "...only one station, the one in Santa Monica, had solar power (30 kW)"

      Are you sure you meant to say "Santa Monica". I have not heard of any Tesla charger in Santa Monica. Maybe Santa Maria?
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X