Lower Swatara Township-based Phoenix Contact USA, which is currently expanding its Fulling Mill Road campus, unveiled a solar charging port for electric vehicles last week.
Almost entirely student-designed and built, the $120,000 charging port includes 12 south-facing solar panels, Apollo Solar inverter and Concorde AGM batteries that collect sunlight during the day.
The control panel cabinet uses almost all Phoenix Contact products, the company said.
On a sunny day, it takes about three hours to get a full charge, said Jack Nehlig, the company’s president.
Unlike a conventional charging station, the solar-powered version does not rely on power from a utility company, so there is no additional demand on the grid.
“Employees or visitors to our campus will be allowed to charge their electric vehicle or pluggable hybrid,” Nehlig said. “We think the market is ready for EVs, so it’s just a matter of time until our employees request charging assistance.”
Phoenix Contact currently possesses one electric vehicle at its U.S. headquarters.
“We have no immediate plans to build more stations, but as the need arises in the future, we will definitely expand the capacity of this concept,” he said. “We are not selling this as a system, but believe that other people could use it as a prototype for similar charging stations.”
Engineering-student interns from Elizabethtown College, Shippensburg University and Penn State Harrisburg designed and created the charging port, the company said.
The electronic components manufacturer is a subsidiary of German company Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co.