Woodland Offers Free Electric Vehicle Charging at School Sites
A small city of 60,000 people, 20 miles east of Sacramento, has installed 16 electric car charging stations at seven school sites with a grant from the California Energy Commission. What makes this project unusual? The stations are connected to photovoltaic panels, allowing the school district to offer free charging to faculty, staff and high school students.
After hours, the Level 2 chargers at the Woodland Joint Unified School District are available free to the public, including the residents who live in apartment complexes surrounding the schools and the district headquarters downtown. The arrangement is significant because residents in multi-unit dwellings usually don’t have access to chargers.
Solar panels provide 75 percent of the schools’ energy requirements, which is an achievement for such a small town. To celebrate their accomplishment, the district hosted a dedication of the chargers this month, complete with a cake, the symbolic cutting of a gas fuel line, and electric car charging demonstrations.
The response has been enthusiastic. So much so that some teachers at school sites without the new chargers are a little jealous and are asking the district to add more.
The Energy Commission funds such projects to encourage drivers to switch to zero and near-zero emission cars and trucks to reach the goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2025. With the transportation sector contributing to 38 percent of the state’s greenhouse gases, it is important for Californians to transition to cleaner fuels and vehicles.