Union contractor installs solar vehicle charging station in Portland

The first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, a solar/electrical vehicle charging station opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 8 at the Portland Development Commission (PDC) parking lot on 3620 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The publicly accessible solar electric charging station includes a quick charger that drivers can plug their electrical cars in with a “shade” made of solar panels. Two cars can be parked under the shade at a time. It has the capacity to fully charge six electric vehicles per day. The charging station will be able to service cars such as the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF and a variety of other electric vehicles.

The charging station is the creation of Christenson Electric of Portland and EV4 Oregon. Founded in 1945, Christenson Electric is one of the largest electrical contractors in the Northwest, with a workforce of approximately 400. The company is signatory with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The two companies formed a special joint venture to create the solar electric charging station, also known as an energy transfer merchant. An ETM has the ability to use both solar and electrical power to charge electrical cars. The charging station is built by Oregon companies, using Oregon products, as a kit that can be assembled anywhere in four days.

“We’re very excited to see this concept come to life,” said Dean Skaar, vice president of business development at Christenson Electric. “We’ve been working with EV4 Oregon for a few years to bring this charging station from the drawing board to the real world. Being based in the Northwest, it was natural for us to work with a company and a project that incorporates renewable energy.”

The June 8 ribbon-cutting ceremony started with speeches from PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton, Bonneville Power Administration Vice President Mike Weedall, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, and Eric Anderson of Pacific Power.

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