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Westport Unveils ‘New Era’ Of Alternative Energy At Train Station

State and local officials, including Gov. Dannel Malloy (l), First Selectman Gordon Joseloff (2nd l) and Westport state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, (r), celebrate the new solar hub at the Westport train station with a ribbon cutting Monday.
State and local officials, including Gov. Dannel Malloy (l), First Selectman Gordon Joseloff (2nd l) and Westport state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, (r), celebrate the new solar hub at the Westport train station with a ribbon cutting Monday. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
From left, Nate Roumanis of Encon Solar congratulates Westport Building Official Stephen Smith Monday after Smith successfully charges his Tesla using one of the new car-charging stations.
From left, Nate Roumanis of Encon Solar congratulates Westport Building Official Stephen Smith Monday after Smith successfully charges his Tesla using one of the new car-charging stations. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Up to four electric cars can be charged in the eastbound parking lot of Westport's Metro-North station using these car-charging hubs.
Up to four electric cars can be charged in the eastbound parking lot of Westport's Metro-North station using these car-charging hubs. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Solar panels installed on the roof of the eastbound station house at Westport's Metro-North station power the building, platform lights and four adjacent car-charging stations.
Solar panels installed on the roof of the eastbound station house at Westport's Metro-North station power the building, platform lights and four adjacent car-charging stations. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
The renovated eastbound station house at the Westport Metro-North stop in Saugatuck boasts vintage decorations, including railroad posters.
The renovated eastbound station house at the Westport Metro-North stop in Saugatuck boasts vintage decorations, including railroad posters. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. – The Westport Metro-North station in Saugatuck is more than just a train station—it a source of alternative energy thanks to recently installed solar panels and electric-vehicle-charging hubs.

The 27-kilowatt solar panel system installed on the roof of the renovated eastbound station house powers the building, platform lights and the four car-charging stations located in the parking lot. The system—the first solar-powered car-charging center on Metro-North’s New Haven Line—was officially unveiled Monday afternoon by state and local officials.

"This is a historic day not only for Westport, but for the state," Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the station house. "We are inaugurating not only a renovated station house, but a new era of alternative energy."

The project was spearheaded by the Westport Solar Team, which consists of Westport Building Official Stephen Smith; Leo Cirino, president of the Westport Electric Car Club; Rick Hoag and John Rountree.

The system, funded with grant money from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, was installed by Encon Solar and will be maintained by ECI Energy at no cost to the town.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, who also attended Monday’s ceremony, said the system is a perfect example of what should be happening across the state to produce alternative energy and lower costs.

"We have some of the most expensive electricity costs in the nation,” Malloy said. “During the time I’ve been governor, we’ve been able to lower the costs of electricity by about 12 percent, but we have to go even further.

“Ultimately, we need to have a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy. By building this system, you are contributing to that overall effort of cleaner, cheaper more reliable energy sources that will allow our state to be competitive with other states.”

State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, vice chairman of the General Assembly’s energy and Technology Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee, said the installation of the system is one of many reasons he’s proud to represent Westport. He also said he hopes the system is replicated up and down the New Haven Line.

“You can say you saw it first in Westport,” Steinberg said.

Two of the car-charging hubs are reserved for use by parking permit holders and the other two are open to all, Smith said. The stations can be used with a credit card or with a Hub Card. Anyone interested in obtaining a Hub Card should contact Stephen Smith at ssmith@westportct.gov or at 203-341-5025.

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