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WHAT’S GOING ON at Depot Street? Solar Shelter & Electric Car Charging Station

A crew works on the new private-public partnership to bring an electric car charging station to downtown Boone at the Depot Street parking lot. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

The town, a nonprofit and a few businesses are partnering to build a minimum 5kW solar shelter and electric car charging station at the Depot Street parking lot in Downtown Boone, and construction recently began.

The Boone Town Council authorized $27,000 of funds previously designated as sustainability funds through the town’s Sustainability Task Force for the construction, and Climate Voice US, a local nonprofit headed by Harvard Ayers, is responsible for providing and installing two electric car charging stations, negotiate with New River Light & Power to bring a 480 volt line to the site, install the substructure and complete solar PV systems onto the canopy, according to a memorandum of understanding between the town and nonprofit approved by the Boone Town Council in August.

The private companies involved include developer Collaborative Solar, LLC; licensed electrical contractor Sunvolt Electric and Renewable Energy; and Spring Green Building and Design Group, Inc., a licensed general contractor.

The town meanwhile is providing funding for the ground mounted substructure and postholes with concrete and steel – not to exceed $27,000. It will also provide insurance on entire structure and high speed internet connection for monitoring software, among other bullet points.

“The mission of this project is to educate citizens about solar power and energy use, utilize public money efficiently by triggering significant private funding, pilot a new plan for greater solar adoption in the Boone area, and provide a platform for expedited electric vehicle (EV) adoption,” a release from the town noted.

“The new Boone Community Solar Station will provide a Level 3 EV charging station, which will assist in making downtown Boone a destination for EV owners. The new solar initiative will also provide a shelter and covered meeting area in downtown.”

While the project is expected to be operational by mid-January (with “structural aesthetics to be completed in the spring), the “best effort” completion date goal outlined in memorandum of understanding is Dec. 31.