GM and TimberRock have announced a partnership to combine OnStar software with TimberRock’s solar canopies, allowing for the management and storage of solar energy using electric vehicle fleets.
TimberRock will use OnStar’s aggregation software to monitor the output of its solar charging stations, how much stored energy is available, and at what times during the day it can sell energy back to the grid during peak demand. TimberRock will use its fleet of Chevrolet Volts to regulate energy flow.
“The future of electric vehicle charging will be a marriage of renewable energy and battery storage as we look to address the intermittency of renewable solar and wind power,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s manager of renewable energy.
OnStar’s technology allows TimberRock to start, stop, and modulate the amount of charge going to a particular Volt, enabling the charging system to match the level of energy needed by the grid. The software determines when EVs can be used to transmit power back into the grid.
This technology could be used to offer consumers financial benefits in exchange for allowing a company to manage the charging of their EVs. Paul Pebbles, GM’s global manager of Smart Grid and EV Services, notes, “Down the line, this could really incentivize solar charging for EV drivers. This opens the door for solutions like this to be brought to the public, which could increase the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.”