MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Driving electric cars isn’t a new idea, but charging them with solar energy is. Ground-breaking for the first solar charging station in West Tennessee happened on January 24, 2012 at Shelby Farms in Shelby County. The goal is to encourage ‘green’ driving and a cleaner environment. Experts from Electric Power Research Institute have discovered how to build a charging station for electric cars using sunlight.
The charging station will have a canopy topped with solar panels that will absorb rays from the sun. Photons from light from the sun will excite the solar panels and will produce an electric current that the station can store. Electric cars will be able to plug into this station. The panels will produce 2 kilowatts of solar energy per parking space on a sunny day.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said, “Last time I counted, Memphis and Shelby County get about 3000 hours of sunlight every year. We're going to put it to great use.”
John Halliwell, Senior Project Manager for EPRI, said, “The cost of solar is coming down. The cost of these vehicles is coming down. So, these technologies are starting to reach a maturity and there's this energy to combine them.”
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell added, “Anything that is good for Shelby County is good for Memphis and whatever is good for Memphis is good for Shelby County.”
The charging station is expected to be finished and operational by the end of June.