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Town Installs Solar Powered Charging Stations

Solar road race unveils electric cars, ‘gators’ at Point Lookout

Temperatures surpassed 90 degrees, with a heat index well over 100 degrees on undeniably one of the hottest days this summer, so far. On June 21, the Town of Hempstead held a solar road race, unveiling electric cars and solar-powered energy-charging carport stations at the East Marina in Point Lookout.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, along with Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, environmental partners and community leaders, and residents celebrated the grand opening of the town’s new state-of-the-art solar car charging stations.           

The three charging stations together can power six cars. Each station offers two levels of charging (120V and 240V) to provide power for an array of electric vehicles. The charging stations will be used for charging Town of Hempstead vehicles, but will also be open to the public and available for free use during the evaluation period of about one year. A fourth charging station has also been added to the West Marina.

“It’s the first full day of summer and the sun is out in full force. Is there any better setting to hold a road race with electric cars powered by the sun?” Murray asked. “We’re excited to celebrate the opening of three solar charging stations here at East Marina and one more next door at our Conservation and Waterways office.”

Green Power Technologies secured funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and have provided the charging stations to the town at no cost. The solar-paneled canopies above the charging stations, which provide all of the energy needed to run the stations, were funded by a $4.6 million grant that the town received from the Department of Energy.

“This is a wonderful and meaningful project,” said David Schieren, co-founder of EmPower Solar, whose company installed the system. EmPower Solar, of Island Park, is a leading solar, engineering and contracting company in the tri-state area.

“[It is believed] that solar and wind will lead to a more prosperous, healthy, and civil world,” said Schieren. “Critically, solar is cost-effective, it’s a wise investment today.”

Schieren explained the system, the carport charging station, saying its 14-kilowatt capacity totals about 3,000-kilowatt hours per year. Each charging space has enough power to charge an electric vehicle for about eight-kilowatt hours, or 30 miles of use. He said that 30 miles is the average distance traveled by drivers each day in the United States. “Solar can work for transportation as well as residential, commercial and municipal,” said Schieren.

The town’s clean energy fleet of vehicles includes a fleet of Toyota fuel-celled cars and a hydrogen-natural gas bus. Other renewable energy vehicles will also be added to the fleet, including fuel cell and electric cars. The town has also received two all-terrain John Deere “gator” flatbeds that will serve the Oceanside nature preserve and the Point Lookout Department of Conservation and Waterways.

“The sun is beating down on us but it is also helping us to beat our planet’s reliance on fossil fuel,” Murray concluded. “Together we’re building a clean energy legacy for our children and future generations to come.”

Some in attendance to support the new charging stations, and to get a first-glimpse at the innovative technology, included: New York Institute of Technology, Wilke Architect and Engineers, Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition (GLICC), LIPA, National Grid, Operation SPLASH, members of the Point Lookout Civic Association, Lido Beach Civic Association, Sustainability Institute of Molloy College, T.M. Bier and Associates, Chevrolet Fleet and Municipal Sales.

The Town of Hempstead’s ongoing renewable energy projects now include a hydrogen fueling station, a solar panel field, solar trackers, geothermal heating and cooling, and a windmill.