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Westport Moves Closer To Train Station Solar Panels

WESTPORT, Conn. – Solar panels may begin to be installed on the roof of the eastbound stationhouse at Westport’s Metro-North Station in Saugatuck as early as next week.

The panels will power the stationhouse, platform lights and a group of electric car charging stations to be installed on the eastbound parking lot, Westport Building Official Stephen Smith said.

“It’s very possible the panels will be installed starting next week,” Smith said.  A 15-year contract between the town and ECI Energy Inc. for the operation of the solar panels was approved last week by the Board of Selectmen. In May, the town approved a contract with Encon for the purchase and installation of the panels, to be paid for with a state grant.

The panels will be operated and maintained by ECI Energy at no cost to the town, and installed by Encon, which is operated by the same owners as ECI Energy, Smith said. As per the contract, the town will buy the energy produced by the panels at a 30 percent discounted rate, Smith said.

Once the panels are in place, the next step is to install the electric charging stations, Smith said. The 27-kilowatt solar panel system will have the capability of powering up to 20 car charging stations, but for now, he said four stations will be installed.

The solar-powered electric car charging stations will be the first along Metro-North’s New Haven line, Smith said. The goal, he added, is to unveil the charging stations by the end of the year.

“It’s all very exciting,” he said. “I almost can’t believe it’s actually happening since we’ve been talking about the project for so long.”

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