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Westport OKs Solar Panel Contract for RR Station

WESTPORT, Conn. – Solar panels and electric car charging stations may become fixtures at the Westport train station this summer, Westport Building Official Steve Smith says.

A contract to buy and install solar panels, to be placed on the roof of the eastbound waiting area, was approved by the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday. These panels would generate energy for two electric car charging stations planned for the eastbound parking lot, said Smith.

“This project has been kicking around for a while,” he told the selectmen. “We’re very close to securing the grant for this.”

The town should soon be granted a $109,000 grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, Smith said. Under the solar panel contract, awarded to ENCON, purchase and installation of the solar panels will cost $97,000. The rest of the money would be used to install the two car charging stations, he said.

The type of solar panels being installed have the capability of generating energy for up to 20 car charging stations, Smith said. Because the town would only be installing two stations to start, he said the panels will generate electricity for the town.

Before the town receives the grant, Smith said he must now meet with the state Department of Transportation for project approval.

When installed, the solar-powered electric car charging stations will be the first public ones in the state, Smith said. He said he hopes it would become a prototype for other towns along the Metro-North line.

The 110-kilowatt car chargers, which would take credit card, would be the first in the country, he added.

“That’s what I’m told by the vendor,” he said. “That would put us on the map.”

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff complimented Smith for his dedication to the project and said the installation of solar panels and the car charging stations will leave visitors with a good impression of Westport.

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