rubestation-floridaFlorida may not be a leader in solar power in the U.S. despite being dubbed “The Sunshine State”. However, slowly but surely, progress is being made in one of the best places for sun in the U.S.

For example, WattNext, an innovative renewable energy company which describes itself as “creating the infrastructure that connects solar power, electric vehicles, and the ‘smart grid’,” recently installed a so-called RubeStation in Eustis, Fla.

The RubeStation is a prototype EV charging station complete with solar panels and benches. The cost: $30,000.

Plugging into Florida sunshine
Electric-car owners can drive into one of three charging bays beside the RubeStation, plug in and recharge their car batteries free.

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“Florida is the Sunshine State. The weather may not always be perfect, but it’s pretty darn good here,” WattNext co-founder Bill Ferree recently told the Columbus Dispatch.

According to the Dispatch, WattNext is working on branching out to Orlando and nearby Sanford and Winter Park

Ferree envisions cheaper alternatives to the RubeStation called “WattTree Groves.” These would be installed in parking lots and charge car owners a premium for shaded spots.

“The WattTree Groves provide shade, an amenity that is in demand, and it will draw customers,” Ferree told the Dispatch. “People are willing to pay for that comfort and at the same time choose a better alternative for improving the environment and the state’s financial burden on electricity.”

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