Tennessee Gets Solar-Assist EV Chargers

The U.S. Department of Energy recently celebrated the installation of twenty-five solar-assisted charging stations at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) in Tennessee. The units are part of a larger, 125 station program that the DOE is partnering with companies, like Nissan, to complete by the spring of 2012.

In addition to the twenty-five, partial solar-power units at ORNL, six others were already installed earlier this year in Knoxville at the Electric Power Research Institute, and ninety-four more are planned for roll out in places like University of Tennessee’s various campuses, as well as some Nissan facilities.

Nissan Leaf Lamar

image via U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

As we’ve noted several times in the past, Tennessee is one of only a few select states participating in The EV Project, a $230 million program managed by Ecotality that was award roughly $115 million from the federal government. The project looks to install 15,000 electric vehicle charging units in mostly western states, with Tennessee receiving 2,535 stations; something even Republican Senator Lamar Alexander (seen above) supports.

Under the program, the charging stations will have two types of battery chargers available, one AC option that takes roughly eight hours to fully charge an car, and one DC option that takes only 30 minutes. If all 15,000 stations were supplied from renewable sources, the initiative would be truly green, but it’s still a small step towards ending a dependence on fossil fuel.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.