westport-solarWestport, Conn. is getting closer to its goal of providing 20 spaces for electric vehicles to plug into the solar system that they hope to install on the town’s Saugatuck Metro-North train station.

Late last month, the Westport, Conn.’s Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to accept a state grant in order to start the project, reports the Westport News.

The grant will use its $13,500 in order to hire local solar company, Westport Solar Consultants, to study the possibility and logistics of installing solar panels on the eastbound side of the commuter rail platform’s roof.

30 kW array
Among other things, Westport Solar Consultants will determine if the roof is strong enough for the 30 kW photovoltaic panels and also if the solar panels could provide enough energy for the desired 20 electric vehicles.

After Westport Solar completes its evaluation, it will present the findings to the town, which will submit official solar plans to the Department of Transportation for approval.

If the Department of Transportation approves the plans, installation could potentially begin by the end of 2011.

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Promoting EV + PV
To pay for the installation itself, Westport is eligible for anywhere from $54,000 to $109,000 from the Finance and Investment Authority, reports the Westport News. The town hopes to use a local solar company for the installation process.

After the project is completed, many in Westport hope that it will promote more solar+EV use. Any of the energy generated that is not used for EVs will be used to accumulate electricity credit for the town.

Selectwoman Shelly Kassen told the Westport News, “This is great. What could be a better example or more iconic than doing this at the train station, where many people will see it as they go back and forth on the trains?”

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