The City of Two Harbors and Minnesota Power hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 19 for two new electric vehicle charging stations and a solar array.
The event dedicated the two Level 2 EV charging stations and a 5-kilowatt solar array on City Hall. Minnesota Power contracted the installation with Hunt Electric and donated the charging stations and solar array to the City of Two Harbors.
The two EV charging stations can each charge one vehicle at a time and are available for free public use. They are part of Minnesota Power’s plan to build a charging network in northeastern Minnesota to provide more charging options for motorists.
Other public charging stations are in Duluth, Virginia and Ely, with another under construction in Motley. The installed solar panels in Two Harbors were manufactured in Mountain Iron by Heliene, an Ontario-based company that is now operating the Iron Range production facility.
“I would like to thank the Two Harbors municipal utility for being a customer of Minnesota Power and valuing the direct benefits of our partnership,” said Frank Frederickson, vice president of customer experience for Minnesota Power. “We care about the environment and are strong partners across the region, as demonstrated by these local EV charging stations powered by solar from a local company."
Level 2 charging stations add roughly 30 miles of driving range to an EV battery per hour. Two Harbors’ downtown district was chosen as the location for the charging stations so EV drivers will be within walking distance of the city's various amenities. There are an estimated 10,000 EVs in Minnesota, and public charging is key to the continued growth of adoption.
“Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to our beautiful community of Two Harbors each year," Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson said. "With the growing number of people who value clean energy it is great to have the ability to charge vehicles right by our waterfront.”
The renewable energy production from the solar array is expected to exceed the consumption of the chargers, with excess flowing back to the grid. At two charges per day at each station, it is conservatively estimated that the charging stations would help keep about 72,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year.
Encouraging adoption of electric vehicles is part of Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy under which the company expects to reach 50% renewable energy by 2021.