Maximizing Solar and Transportation Synergies

Kristen Ardani, Chad Hunter, Caley Johnson, Sam Koebrich

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report considers the technological and market pathways that will enable better use of photovoltaic (PV) electricity as fuel for future transportation demand. Most of the pathways identified will require collaborative research and development (R&D) efforts to improve the capabilities of multiple technologies, including PV, energy storage, vehicles, electrolyzers, electrofuels, and infrastructure. For plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), technologies that enable wide-scale managed and coordinated charging are among the highest priorities for continued research, development, and deployment in the near term. Furthermore, managed and coordinated charging capabilities are foundational for future vehicle-to-grid (V2G) functionality in the long term. For hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), the use of PV electricity for electrolysis provides an opportunity to increase PV deployment. For rail, air, and maritime transportation, the feasibility of increased PV use varies in the near term; opportunities for synergies with solar include the electrification of rail, increased reliability from airport microgrids, and switching from heavy fuel oil to clean maritime electrofuels made from PV-based hydrogen. Over the longer term, battery swap stations for electric airplanes and the co-location of solar with hydrogen fueling stations at shipping ports may enable greater synergies between PV and transportation.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages58
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-80779


  • air
  • batteries
  • charging
  • electric vehicle
  • fuel cell
  • maritime
  • photovoltaics
  • rail
  • solar
  • transportation
  • vehicle-to-grid


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