With Nissan all set to bring the Leaf electric vehicle (EV) to life near Nashville (technically, Smyrna) in the coming years, it makes sense for people in Tennessee to start laying a plug-in groundwork. That's just what happened in Pulaski, TN, where a solar parking lot – that is, parking spaces with an electric vehicle charger that is powered by solar energy – opened earlier this month. The 20 kW solar array is the first such EV station in the Southeast say the people behind the project, Richland, LLC. Company president Jim Greene told local TV station WSMV:
The station cost $180,000, most of which came from federal and state funds. The station is now open to anyone with a plug-in vehicle and it won't be the only place in the area where Leaf drivers can get a charge. Similar solar stations will open soon in Nashville and Chattanooga, and 14 more are scheduled to open in Tennessee in the next three years. You can watch a video of the opening here.We think that we're the first one in the southeast. We wanted to show that a company and a community can be forward-thinking and can be cutting-edge and still enjoy the benefits of a small, rural town.
First Parking Area Solar Array with Electric Vehicle Charging Capacity is Commissioned in an Unlikely Place
Pulaski, Tenn., August 4, 2010 – The Southeast's first parking area solar array with integrated electric vehicle (EV) charging capacity began to generate over 20kW of electricity on August 4, 2010, at 10:00 am, in Pulaski, Tennessee. After remarks highlighting American energy independence and job creation, Congressman Lincoln Davis switched on the array, sending the sun's energy into the grid. Located at Richland, LLC in Pulaski, Tenn., this solar array represents the first step in a growing EV charging network. The parking array produces enough energy to run nearly four typical American homes and is an integral part to the success of EVs. The system uses a new charging station from EV-Charge America which features two level one plugs and two level two, J1772 plugs, designed to charge the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.
"As EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt hit the market soon, a network of charging stations like these are important to the vehicles' success," said Wilson Stevenson, President of Outpost Solar. Richland, LLC, one of Inc. Magazine's 5000 fastest growing companies for the last three years, has made the investment in the solar array. "I invite everyone to come down and see what the future of modern parking lots will look like," Jim Greene P.E., President of Richland, LLC said. "We wanted to show that a company and a community can be cutting-edge and forward thinking, while still enjoying the benefits of a rural community," Greene said.
The commissioning ceremony featured remarks from Congressman Lincoln Davis, Pulaski Mayor Dan Speer, Pulaski Electric System President Wes Kelly and Tennessee Energy Policy Director Ryan Gooch. "All the components are American made," Greene said. "Products like Outpost Solar's Parking Area Solar Array are one example of how American small business and manufacturing are growing in the new 'green economy.' Outpost Solar is showing how emerging technology and job growth take place in small-town America, not just big cities," Greene said. This project was made possible with cooperation of the State of Tennessee, the USDA, Pulaski Electric System and TVA.
Outpost Solar is a Middle-Tennessee based company that provides creative solutions for solar energy implementation ranging from deployable off-grid generation systems, designed for military and recovery operations, to electric vehicle infrastructure solutions and array systems that generate a megawatt or more. Outpost Solar provides its clients with the necessary expertise to assess power needs and maximize the return on investment. Outpost Solar's staff provides the full range of solar power project services to include: design, build, installation, financing and incentive optimization, for projects of any size or application.