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  • Réunion tackles energy challenge with solar-charged electric vehicles

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Réunion Island, aerial view of lagoon, Saint Gilles Bay. Photograph courtesy of Fabrice Baixes “From years of partnership with Schneider Electric, we are confident to move forward together to establish ground-breaking, cost-effective solutions for the widespread usage of electric vehicles.” -Yannick Melle, CEO Sunzil Indian Ocean/Réunion Island

A small tropical paradise with big ambitions installs EVlink charging solutions as part of the push toward island-wide energy autonomy

Réunion Island is making a name for itself as a real-world testing ground to take electric vehicles from niche to mainstream.

Like the rest of the world, the Indian Ocean island is facing climate change and sustainable energy challenges. Taking a total-solution approach involving a comprehensive series of green energy programs, Réunion has given itself an ambitious target of attaining energy autonomy where reducing the public’s dependency on internal combustion engine vehicles is a priority.

Schneider Electric supplies EVlink™ charging terminals and energy management software and participates in the commissioning, maintenance, and evaluation of charging networks.

A key imperative is that the charging of EVs should not overstrain the island’s main electricity grid. Harnessing the energy of the sun is Réunion’s forte. Leveraging local solar energy know-how, Schneider Electric contributed its expertise to building an autonomous solar-powered charging infrastructure where the needed power is generated at the charging points.

By December 2011, the first custom EVlink system specific to Réunion’s requirements was successfully installed. The floor-standing EVlink terminals are connected to batteries charged by on-site PV panels. Hybrid PV inverters are installed for access to EDF’s central grid as backup for unforeseen situations only.

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