Plan drawing for Como solar charging stations

Solar-powered car charging stations to grace St. Paul's Como Park

Original Star Tribune story by Rochelle Olson.

Witness the harnessing of the mighty power of the sun at St. Paul’s Como Park. The city is set to fire up two solar-powered electric car charging stations at Como Lake and the nearby McMurray Fields. The official opening is expected within a couple of weeks.

The sites are the latest in St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s unfurling of the welcome mat for green energy, electric vehicles in particular. Several downtown city ramps have charging stations, as does the city-owned ramp at the Spruce Tree Center on the corner of University and Snelling avenues. Como, however, has the only solar-powered chargers so far…

St. Paul used a portion of $2.8 million in federal stimulus for the solar stations. They cost $35,000 apiece, but get one-time rebates from Xcel Energy of $4,200 each. Each station has the capacity to charge two cars at a time.

“We’ve worked hard to be on the forefront of a number of sustainable innovations throughout our parks and recreation system, and these stations will only help further those efforts,” said parks Director Mike Hahm.

While most owners of electric cars charge them at home, they also might need to top them off on the go. Hunt said the two Como sites were chosen because they are regional destinations, places visitors might drive a fair distance to visit.

“Everything I’ve been reading, electric cars are coming so we want people to have confidence they have a place to charge them,” Hunt said. “We don’t want people to not come to a Wild game or concert because they don’t have a place to charge their car.”

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