Green Mountain Power to install solar electric car charging stations

Vermont, ever a green state, will soon boast a selection of new solar-powered electric car charging stations.

Green Mountain Power announced today that it will create three new electric-car-charging stations, all powered by the sun, according to a release from the utility provider.

The stations will be located in populated areas with easy access and high visibility in Chittenden, Washington and Addison counties, according to the release.

"Electric vehicles are part of Vermont's energy future," said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. "Transportation currently represents a significant percent of Vermont's carbon emissions and electric vehicles need to be part of a cost-effective strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. These new charging stations will help highlight the environmental benefits of fueling more vehicles with electricity."

Each charging station will have two chargers. The Level One charger will use 110-volt household current, and will be compatible with hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, that have been converted to "plug-in" technology. The Level Two charger will use 220-240 current, and will be compatible with the new electric vehicles entering the market, such as the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf.

“We want to size the solar panels with how much energy we think the charging stations will use,” said Robert Dostis, spokesman for Green Mountain Power. “That way, it will be netted out, and each one will be producing as much energy as it uses.”

The charging stations are expected to be installed by the spring of 2011.

“We’re leading with solar development in the state,” Dostis said. “Using panels at the station reinforces our commitment to renewable energy.”

The Vermont power provider has opened four large-scale solar operations this year, Dostis said. Three of those help to offset the utility company’s own usage.

In addition, Green Mountain Power customers have more than quadrupled the amount of energy they produce with roof-mounted solar panels at their homes in the last two years. The increase is thanks to a utility program that pays homeowners for the power they produce, Dostis said.

The solar-powered electric car charging stations are just one new way the company is helping to shift Vermont to renewable energy, Dostis said.