Solar, EV Charging Help Calstart Walk The Walk

Give Calstart credit — it’s walking the walk.

The constortium that promotes clean transportation technologies can now point to the solar panels on the roof of its Pasadena, Calif., headquarters and a carport canopy — and at the five electric-vehicle charging stations they power – and say: Do as we say, and as we do.

calstart,solarworld,ev charging

image via SolarWorld

“This solar installation is a real-world demonstration of how employers can use solar technology and electric-vehicle charging to meet their triple bottom line: protecting the environment, providing benefit to their employees and saving money on energy costs now and for decades to come,” Calstart President and CEO John Boesel said in a statement released by SolarWorld, the Oregon company that made the 338 solar panels that went in at Calstart. “We’re especially pleased that the solar panels from SolarWorld are made in the United States, creating high-quality American jobs.”

The panels – 78 on the building’s roof, another 260 on the carport canopy – add up to 84.5-kilowatts of generating power. For comparison, your typical home solar system might be around 3 kW.

SolarWorld said the system is expected to generate enough clean power to offset 80 percent of Calstart’s energy needs at the Pasadena office, including power for the EV chargers.

The organization unveiled the solar-plus-charging setup Monday with the usual pomp and circumstance that attends such events. A ribbon was cut. Speeches were made. A member of the United States Congress even showed up – Rep. Judy Chu. Here’s a funny thing about that: Chu, a Democrat, doesn’t represent the 29th Congressional District that’s home to Calstart; she’s over in the 32nd District.

So what was she doing there? Just a PV/EV geek? Well, maybe. But there’s also this: due to redistricting, Chu is running in the 29th this fall, making Pasadena one of her new favorite places in the whole wide world.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.