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USA: Nonprofit provides electric car chargers, wildlife rehab

A vehicle charges up at Black Bear Solar Institute’s EV charging station at Trillium Cove in Townsend.

Black Bear Solar Institute, through operating electric vehicle charging stations and demonstrating how solar technology operates, has established a Green Gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Townsend.

The nonprofit group headquartered in Pigeon Forge expanded to Townsend earlier this year, locating in the Trillium Cove Shopping Village off East Lamar Alexander Parkway at 161 Painted Trillium Way in Townsend.

In addition to operating charging stations and providing renewable energy information, proceeds from corporate purchases of 30-year solar module sponsorships will help establish a wildlife rehabilitation facility in a remote area of Townsend.

Once in operation, people will not be allowed to view the animals to keep them from losing their fear of people, according to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency rules. Instead, cameras will be installed at the wildlife center and people may watch the animals on a TV at the institute.

The building has a theater upstairs, large screen TV immediately inside, classrooms and areas for civic organizations to meet and get information. Wildlife and renewable energy information is available on various topics.

The institute operates electric vehicle charging stations from major metropolitan areas of the state and the interstates to the national park gateway community of Townsend, said Lisa Stewart, vice president and executive director of Black Bear Solar Institute.

The chargers enable electric vehicles to reach and tour the Smokies with no emissions within the park, improving the air quality, she added.

Recently, people driving an electric car went over the mountain to Cherokee. N.C., fully charged for about 100 miles. They recharged the vehicles in Cherokee.


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