Public solar EV charging arrives in Minnesota

solar-ev-stations-st-paulTwo new solar-powered EV charging stations officially went online today in St. Paul, Minn.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Xcel Energy, Commissioner Paul Aasen and other local officials unveiled the solar EV charging stations in Como Regional Park.

“Today, customers can not only plug in their EVs, but they can plug into a clean solar resource. That’s an exciting first,” said Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company.

Located at Como Lake and McMurray Fields, the public solar EV charging stations are the first of their kind in Minnesota, though HOURCAR car sharing has had a couple of proprietary solar EV charging stations in place for more than two years. Powered by the sun, they generate no air pollution. The solar charging stations have the capacity to charge two vehicles at a time.

“Having these charging stations located in a regional destination like Como Park is a good fit for the demand we’ve seen from our environmentally-conscious users,” Mayor Coleman said. “The electric car industry is growing, and Saint Paul is ready. We are paving the way for a sustainable future, and will continue to lay the infrastructure for electric vehicles across the metro.”

Two Volts and a Ford Transit
City officials also introduced three new electric vehicles to its fleet at the event; two Chevy Volts and a Ford Transit Connect.

With four electric vehicles in its fleet, electric charging stations in many downtown ramps, solar panels on the roofs of government buildings and more, St. Paul is among the national leaders in clean energy.

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“The leadership of St. Paul and our clean energy partners here today demonstrates that we understand that energy efficiency isn’t just a competitive advantage, it’s a competitive necessity in our global economy. I believe the federal government can and should partner with cities, states and organizations to deliver clean energy initiatives like this,” Congresswoman Betty McCollum said.

The solar EV charging stations will charge $1 per hour.

$35,000 each
Paid for in part from a $2.8 million federal stimulus grant through the U.S. Department of Energy, the solar EV charging stations cost $35,000 per unit and are eligible for a total rebate of $8,910 from the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards program.

The electric vehicles were paid for through stimulus dollars, Xcel Energy and the City of St. Paul. Overall, stimulus dollars paid for about 60 percent and Xcel Energy and the City of Saint Paul each paid about 20 percent of the total cost for solar installations, charging stations and four electric vehicles.

The city is working with Drive Electric Minnesota, a partnership of local and state government, Xcel Energy, businesses and nonprofit entities working in collaboration to bring electric vehicles and plug-in charging infrastructure to Minnesota.

For more information on electric vehicles and the charging stations, visit