City to build solar carports with chargers

April 4, 2011 at 9:35 PM
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CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif., April 4 (UPI) -- A Southern California community says it will build almost 1,000 solar carports at a commuter rail station to produce electricity and charge electric vehicles.

The carports at the Metrolink station parking lot in the City of Industry will have photovoltaic solar roof panels to provide about 2 megawatts of power for Southern California Edison, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported Sunday.

The carports will also feature charging stations for electric cars, becoming more popular as gas prices climb.

"The city has a responsibility to try things," city engineer J.D. Ballas said.

The city proposed to be a part of an Edison program, approved by the state Public Utilities Commission, to generate 500 megawatts of solar energy from unused rooftop space on warehouses and other sites, the Tribune reported.

While commuters might assume the electric charging stations will use the solar power, they will not, Ballas said.

Instead, he said, the charging stations will be powered by a separate source.

"When you think about it, if the sun's not out, your car won't get a charge," Ballas said.

Construction of the $1.2 million project is set to begin this summer with an intended completion date of next January or February.

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