I-GO Car Sharing is a nonprofit organization in the Chicago area. This week they announced plans to build 11 solar powered charging stations around the city. The company is currently midway through a $2.5 million electric vehicle project that will add 36 all-electric vehicles to its fleet and 11 publicly-available solar charging stations to power its cars. Once completed, I-GO will have the largest electric vehicle fleet in the Midwest, and it will use more solar power to charge electric vehicles than anywhere else in the country.
Grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will be used to fund the project and will be completed in early 2012. Each solar charging station will form a canopy that covers four parking spaces, and will be able to power two electric vehicles. Two spaces will be reserved for I-GO at each location, and the others will be available to the public. Each canopy will be topped with 44 solar panels. In aggregate, the canopies will produce about 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which will power as much as 600,000 miles driven per year.
The company responsible for building the charging stations is 350Green LLC, a San Diego-based company. Thanks to a package of $2 million in federal and state grants 350Green LLC was able to cut costs in half in order to do that project.
I read so many similar stories to this one, it is only a matter of time before seeing charging stations all over cities will be a common occurrence. Cant wait.