STAMFORD — Those passing through the Bedford Street parking lot in recent days may have been seen the solar array mounted on a support gantry there, part of a soon-to-be launched electric charging terminal for hybrid vehicles.
The 3 kilowatt power system, with spaces to charge two vehicles, is being installed using a $83,126 block grant from the federal Department of Energy, Erin McKenna, a city associate planner who oversaw the project.
Solar energy garnered from the panels would flow into the grid of the adjacent garage, McKenna said.
McKenna said the charging station is a step towards meeting expected demand from owners of electric vehicles, though initial use of other city managed charging stations put in operation in May has been infrequent.
The system will also include an display featuring a gauge showing resulting cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and the gallons of gasoline saved, according to Elliot Isban, chief executive officer of the project’s contractor, American Solar & Alternative Power.
The station is to be operational within a month, McKenna said.
“We wanted to put it in as prominent a place downtown as we could that wasn’t expected to have a big development soon that might put it in the shade,” McKenna said of the solar array. “The display will show how much energy the solar panels provide compared to the amount of energy used.”
While being charged, cars would be sheltered under the solar panels, Isban said.
Isban said he thought a commitment by Stamford and other cities and private businesses to seek opportunities to install electric charging stations was necessary to enable the public to use alternative fuel vehicles.