Laramie Fire Station 3 adding renewable power
Blue Sky grant allows for solar panel installation and electric vehicle charging station at the West Laramie fire station. The station will be able to produce some of its own electricity this summer.
Laramie Fire Department Station 3 will undergo construction of a 25kW solar panel array and electric car charging station this spring, as part of the city’s effort to hit carbon neutrality. The project has been made possible by Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky community grant program.
“Rocky Mountain Power will be giving us a grant that will cover about half of the cost of this project through the Blue Sky program,” City Councilor Erin O’Doherty said. “This is our third project made possible through the Blue Sky program; it is very exciting.”
Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program is a customer donation fund. The program awards grants for solar and wind projects which prove merit to their communities. Fire Station 3 is one of more than 180 community-based projects funded by the grant program.
The $39,465 award will cover approximately half of the $85,000 estimated installation cost of the community electric car charging station and the 25kW solar array at the West Laramie fire station. The other $45,535 will come from “unencumbered funds” outlined in the city's budget to match Blue Sky’s contribution.
Previously, the city was awarded grant funds for solar panel installations at the Laramie Community Recreation Center and the Ice and Events Center. These three recent grant approvals from the Blue Sky program have moved Laramie toward a municipal goal of lowering carbon emissions.
The electric car charging station will be available for the public to pay for use.
“We hope that the charging station as a public service will help defray the cost of the solar panel installation and that the fire station can become closer to self-sufficient through creating its own electricity,” O’Doherty said. “The goal is to make us more carbon neutral as a city.”
The fire station is expected to begin generation of its own renewable power in June.
“It’s going to be up to cities to do something about climate change — I’m proud that Laramie is leading the way in our state,” O’Doherty said. “It gives me hope, because if we wait around for the nation and the world to do something, it will be too late.”