WESTPORT, Conn. – Electric car owners may be able to fuel-up using the power of the sun in downtown Westport if a proposal by lifelong Westporter Tony Eason is approved.
Eason is the owner of Elektron Solar, a Westport-based company that designs and installs solar panels for commercial and residential use. He is looking to transform a brick shed located in the Baldwin parking lot off Elm Street into a solar-powered electric car charging station.
“The station would generate solar-generated electricity, not electricity that’s generated by oil, natural gas or a nuclear power plant,” said Eason. “It’s truly energy independent because it cuts the cord between fossil fuels and driving a car. I think it’s a cool project.”
The shed, which houses electrical panels for the lights in the parking lot, is the ideal location because it faces south and is unobstructed by trees, Eason said. This would allow ample sun exposure to fuel the panels.
If approved, the charging system would not cost the town a dime, Eason said. It would be owned, installed and maintained by his company and paid for through a site sponsorship, which he said would be done tastefully.
Although he has not submitted a final application with the Planning and Zoning Department, Eason hopes to lease the system to the town for $1 a year for five years. If at the end of that lease the town decided it no longer wanted the system, he said it would be removed.
While most people still drive gas-powered vehicles, Eason said he’s optimistic charging stations will be in demand in the near future, as gas prices continue to climb. And because this system would run on solar energy, Eason said its use will benefit the entire town.
“It would effectively replace gasoline with clean energy, and that means zero emissions,” he said.
Even if the system weren’t used, it would generate $340 to $350 worth of electricity for the town. If more than $350 in electricity was consumed from the system, Eason said the town could offset additional costs by collecting usage fees.
If this project is approved and successful, Eason said he’d ideally like to install more solar-powered charging stations in town.