Thin-film manufacturer Hanergy Solar has supplied electric supercar maker Tesla with two solar charging stations for electric vehicles in China.
The carport charging stations were unveiled as Tesla marked its first delivery of cars to China at a ceremony in Beijing. Designed to shade and protect the cars as well as charging them, Hanergy will initially provide Tesla with carports in Beijing and Jiading, in Shanghai.
Hanergy acquired US flexible thin-film firm Global Solar Energy (GSE) in July last year. The Beijing carport will utilise GSE modules, and is designed for ease of transportation and assembly. Conversely the Jiading carport will be a fixed structure, utilising CIGS high-efficiency modules manufactured by MiaSole, another thin-film start-up purchased by Hanergy.
Speaking at the ceremony, Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, said that the company aimed to invest in and quickly expand the charger network. Appearing on television while in China, Musk also said that Tesla planned to build seven ‘super charger’ networks in China, initially targeting built-up cities. Utilising energy storage, Tesla claims the carports can charge cars 24 hours a day. Incidentally, Musk is cousin to Lyndon Rive, founder and chief executive officer of US installer SolarCity. SolarCity and Tesla announced a link-up on commercial PV energy storage in December.
In a statement announcing the news, Hanergy said:
“Combining the electric automobile industry and that of renewable energy, the cooperation between Tesla and Hanergy is an active practice towards cross-industrial technological innovation. It is a first step towards freedom from the traditional energy pattern and the plight of traditional fossil energy on which the current electric auto industry relies upon.”