San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) is furthering its commitment to sustainable energy with the unveiling of a solar-powered vehicle charging station, an Envision Solar EV ARC. The portable charging unit will supply clean, renewable energy for the County fleet’s electric vehicles and provide a solution for first responders during emergency situations when standard power sources fail.
The Envision Solar EV ARC unit charges a Chevy Volt at the County fleet lot in San Rafael.
The EV ARC, which carries a price tag of $69,367, is on the state’s contract for recommended items. In support of renewable energy, the Transportation Authority of Marin contributed $6,000 to the purchase.
The unit fits in a single parking spot and can charge two cars at a time using strictly solar power. It requires no trenching for power lines, no construction of any kind and is simple to install, which allows for maximum portability. Because of this, the charger serves a secondary purpose: It can be deployed at a moment’s notice to first responders who need to power equipment in an emergency event or in a remote location.
From an environmental standpoint, the solar charger allows the County fleet to further diminish its carbon footprint, a goal that has been pursued since 2003 when the entire garage switched over to solar power. The selection of cars in the fleet has also been shifting since 2002, when the first Toyota Prius was acquired.
Today there are 355 cars and light trucks in the fleet, of which there are 80 hybrid vehicles and six plug-in electric vehicles. The number of electric vehicles will grow soon with the addition of two 2017 Chevy Bolts. Not only are the Bolts all-electric but they feature extended travel range, making them applicable to a wider spectrum of County uses.
“Marin County is committed to making environmentally sound choices,” said Larry Laino, County Fleet Manager. “We are excited to be expanding our solar capabilities, making the green choice and getting off the grid.”
If the EV ARC is a success, more units may be purchased for satellite locations, enabling employees to conduct operations in a wider travel range and expand the potential work applications for electric vehicles.
Although the new solar-powered station is only for County fleet vehicles, there are three standard charging stations in the Civic Center parking lot available for public use. Two are located in the top parking lot closest to the building’s south arch, and one is near the middle arch.