Sonoma County has purchased three mobile solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations to support zero-emission vehicles in the area.
Initial locations for the charging stations include the parking areas at Ragle Ranch Regional Park in Sebastopol, Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve in Santa Rosa, and North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve in Sonoma Valley.
County officials say the units could be relocated over time depending on usage rates, operational limitations such as lack of sunlight, and use as a backup power supply in the event of an emergency. The charging stations are free to the public.
County officials said the initiative is consistent with the Climate Action and Resiliency pillar of the county's multi-year strategic plan, and is part of a larger program to replace all eligible county fleet internal combustion engines with electric vehicles by 2030.
"With the devastating health and economic consequences of climate change growing here and elsewhere, we know that Sonoma County must act with urgency," Supervisor Chris Coursey said in a statement.
"This versatile new infrastructure is completely off-grid and transportable, which makes it a sustainable source of electricity for first responders and the general public, especially during an emergency," Coursey said.
The new charging stations are manufactured by Beam Global, a clean technology company focused on electric vehicle charging, energy storage, energy security and outdoor media. Each unit features two electric vehicle chargers for a total of six chargers, which were provided locally by Sonoma Clean Power.
The cost of each unit is $81,595 including taxes and is funded by the county's Climate Resilience Fund, which totals $10 million and was set aside by the Board of Supervisors in 2021 using PG&E settlement funds from the wildfires that damaged the county in 2017.
Other projects under development as part of the Climate Resilience Fund include a rainwater catchment system for Helen Putnam Regional Park; installing EV charging stations at the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office; bike lane construction on Arnold Drive; prescribed animal grazing for wildfire mitigation; and fare-free public transit for Sonoma County youth.