Beautiful Earth Group (BEG), a Brooklyn, NY-based renewable energy company, has installed a solar-powered plug-in vehicle charging station right in its own backyard. Well, sort of. You see, BEG's solar charging units sits in Brooklyn Bridge Park – an 85-acre sustainable waterfront piece of land with views of New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) station features a 5.6-kilowatt photovoltaic array mounted on top of shipping containers. According to Lex Heslin, BEG's chief executive officer, the solar setup generates enough electricity to recharge the park staff's fleet of five electric golf carts maintenance vehicles and BEG's own battery-powered Mini E.

The Brooklyn station was built back in 2009 and originally sat near BEG's offices, about half a mile south of its current resting place. However, in a move that will enhance BBP's already impressive sustainability efforts, BEG donated the station to the park. Why go solar? Well, in a telephone interview with the New York Times, Heslin argues that:
What's the point of having electric vehicles charge from a coal plant that blows smoke into the atmosphere 24 hours a day?
We've heard it before, but it's still a good question.

[Source: Beautiful Earth Group]
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Brooklyn Bridge Park Receives Solar-Powered Charging Station to Power Electric Vehicles

Beautiful Earth Group's Charging Station Is First of Its Kind in New York City

Brooklyn Bridge Park and Beautiful Earth Group (BE), a Brooklyn-based renewable energy company, announced today the arrival of a state-of-the-art solar-powered electric vehicle charging station to Brooklyn Bridge Park -- a world-class 85-acre sustainable waterfront park with iconic views of the New York Harbor and Manhattan skyline.

Designed and built by BE, the station is the first solar-powered charging station in New York City and one of only a few in the world. Brooklyn Bridge Park will use the donated station to charge its electric service vehicles (EVs) using only the power of the sun. This project greatly enhances the Park's already impressive sustainability efforts, which include the reuse of materials from demolished buildings, use of native plant species, reintroduction of marine habitats and management of rainwater and runoff.

Using solar power to operate its EVs will yield significant cost savings for Brooklyn Bridge Park -- more than $200,000 in gasoline costs, and tens of thousands of dollars in electricity costs, over the 25-year lifetime of the project. More than 530 tons of CO2 would have been emitted during this period had the Park chosen to use traditional service vehicles.

"On behalf of Brooklyn Bridge Park, I thank Beautiful Earth for the gift of this pioneering solar-powered charging station for the park's fleet of electric vehicles," said President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Regina Myer. "Brooklyn Bridge Park is New York's premiere sustainably-built and operated public park and the charging station furthers our mission to honor the environment and conserve resources. We are thrilled to partner with one of Brooklyn's most innovative technology companies and to help demonstrate the future of renewable energy."

"There are ambitious emissions reductions goals in PlaNYC, our long-term vision for a greener, greater New York," said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor Bloomberg's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "The Beautiful Earth charging station at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and other steps we have taken to green our fleet of vehicles, will help us meet our goal and set an example for the thousands of visitors that will enter the park and see the charging station."

Constructed with two upcycled, decommissioned steel shipping containers stacked on top of each other, BE's charging station is off-grid, entirely powered by 24 photovoltaic panels on the roof, which catch the sun's rays throughout the day and store them as electricity in battery packs for 24/7, on-demand use. With production of 5.6 kilowatts, the station also stores enough energy to power a small home and can charge five electric service vehicles and a full-size electric car as they come and go.

"We are honored to contribute to the sustainability of this 21st century park, one in which an underused stretch of waterfront has been majestically transformed and opened to the public in an environmentally-sensitive way," said Beautiful Earth Group President and CEO, Lex Heslin. "We look forward to a long, fruitful and emissions-free collaboration."

BE originally operated its solar-powered EV charging station on an industrial lot in Red Hook before donating it to Brooklyn Bridge Park. To build the station, BE purchased photovoltaic panels made at a Sharp Electronics plant in Tennessee; a racking system from Unirac in New Mexico; recycled containers from a local New York vendor; batteries, which are 97 percent recyclable, from the Trojan Battery Company in Georgia; inverters from OutBack Power Systems in Washington; and the solar array's frame from U.S. Fence Systems in Brooklyn.

An additional benefit of the charging station is that it is modular -- it can be deconstructed, moved and reassembled in less than a day -- and it serves as a model for other parks and small businesses looking to use clean energy for their vehicles. The charging station is scheduled to become part of a larger New York Center for Sustainable Energy that will be built and unveiled in the Park this spring.

BE supports the use of electric vehicles as a crucial step toward long-term sustainability in transportation and as an innovative solution that will contribute to New York's PlaNYC initiative, which seeks a 30 percent reduction in the City's carbon emissions by 2030.

BE broke ground in December 2010 on two 19 MW photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating plants in Southern California. With a total project cost of approximately $170 million, BE's Del Sur I and II projects located in Lancaster, CA will supply electricity to over 8,000 homes in the area. BE is also investing extensively in EV charging stations which will use its clean, green electricity.

Beautiful Earth Group (BE;, a Brooklyn-based sustainable energy company founded in 2008, develops, owns and operates utility-scale solar power and wind power generating facilities, as well as EV charging infrastructure. BE invests exclusively in non-carbon emitting electricity generation and seeks to promote long-term green solutions towards a goal of sustainability.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn's East River shoreline.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors. Spearheaded by NYC & Company, the initiative eventually will connect the nine major waterfront points of interest by ferry or bike greenways. In addition, NYHarborWay will develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the destinations are Governors Island, Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.

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