Plans to develop electric car infrastructure in Westport were initially put on hold because of federal bureaucracy and local concerns over liabilities, but the technology is finally ready to be unveiled.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for Dec. 19, at 3 p.m. at the eastbound side of the Saugatuck train station for the newly installed solar panels, according to First Selectman Gordon Joseloff.
In addition to Joseloff, speakers and dignitaries invited will include State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, Department of Energy & Environment Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty, and Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.
The solar panels will power the interior of the station house, as well as 20 electric vehicle charging stations outside.
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One goal is to end up with a net increase in parking spaces through negotiations with the tenants that are there, according to Building Official Steve Smith.
There are plans to “double up” parking spots based on the idea that electric cars are smaller and thinner than typical gasoline cars and SUV’s. Smith said the ones that will benefit from the charging stations are the parking pass holders, who will have the ability to pay to recharge their vehicles with a credit card.
The and up to 20 electric car charging stations, according to Smith.
Westport is currently paying two different electricity rates at the station. ECI Energy, Inc., the company that will construct, install and maintain the solar panels, is offering a flat 16-cent per kilowatt fee, something that will save Westport money.