Solar charger

Chris Toler of Puget Sound Solar installs a solar powered car charger on Wednesday morning at the Yelm Community Center. The Charger was built using funds from the Port of Olympia's Small Cities Grant.

Andrew Kollar/Nisqually Valley News

Using the $10,000 Small Cities Grant through the Port of Olympia, the Yelm Community Center is now home to a solar powered electric vehicle charging station.

The system can charge two Electric Vehicles (EVs) simultaneously at up to 11.5 kilowatts, a rate that supports every EV on the road. The two Clippercreek chargers come with 25-foot charging cords to supply cars whose charging ports may be located at the front, back or sides of the vehicle.  

The solar energy comes from a 335 Watt solar panel with an inverter mounted atop a 15-foot pole to keep it out of harm’s way.  The pole and panel system are designed to withstand 110 mph winds.  

Whenever sunlight hits the panel, the solar system outputs 240 volts of electricity that will supplement the power supplied to the chargers. 

“If it’s not charging a vehicle, the lights in the parking lot will be powered — making this a very sustainable and cost effective project,” Yelm City Administrator Michael Grayum said. 

The intent of the Port’s Small Cities Program is to assist with projects that will contribute to local economic development. The program requires an equal cash match from the city. The Port awards the funds after the city has completed the project and submitted the required information.

Small cities are defined as incorporated cities within Thurston County with a population of 10,000 or less.

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