OnStar Partners With TimberRock For EV Solar Charging

OnStar Logo
General Motors Company’s
OnStar has partnered with TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. on a new type of software.  The companies will use “aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power to benefit the electric grid.”  This will be the first real-world use of OnStar’s Smart Grid solutions.

TimberRock will oversee the solar charging station output, stored energy availability, and when the energy can be sold back to the grid.  TimberRock will manage its fleet of four Chevrolet Volts to help regulate energy flow, known as Market-Based Regulation.

“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,” stated General Motors’ manager of renewable energy Rob Threlkeld. “This project supports GM’s goal of using all factors of the charging equation: electric vehicles, solar power, and battery storage.”

Being able to control the Volts’ charging using software algorithms can be made possible by an OnStar solution called Demand Response.  It can be accessed through OnStar’s Smart Grid application programming interface (APIs).  OnStar gave TimberRock access to the solution so that it can start/stop/modulate the amount of charge that goes into a Volt in coordination with energy need.  TimberRock software can determine when the electric vehicles can be used for supporting the grid.

“We have given TimberRock the ability to use Demand Response to efficiently control the charging of their fleet of Volts,” added GM global manager of Smart Grid and EV Services Paul Pebbles. “This is the first time a demonstration of Demand Response is being taken beyond lab or university studies.”

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
Leave a Comment