Oro Valley is readying for the installation of electric-vehicle charging stations through the Electric Vehicle Project, or the EV Project.
Four electric-vehicle charging stations will be installed at Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive, at no cost to Oro Valley. There, people will be able to charge their vehicles for free.
The charging stations could be installed this month near the Oro Valley library under covered parking, said Bayer Vella, the town's conservation and sustainability manager.
Installing charging stations for electric vehicles falls in line with the town's overall theme of energy-efficiency changes, Vella said.
"This is a natural extension of what we're doing at Town Hall," he said.
More than 1,000 solar panels are going in at Town Hall as part of the town's Energy Efficiency and Solar Installation Project.
The solar panels will allow the town to offset 60 percent of its annual electricity costs in all Town Hall buildings south of the Oro Valley library.
The town also has retrofitted or replaced exterior lighting fixtures in town buildings with energy-efficient components, and has done other things to save on energy costs.
"We've had an explosion of green projects all at the same time," Vella said.
The town plans to apply for LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings once the Energy Efficiency and Solar Installation Project is completed.
Additional charging stations at different sites in Oro Valley also are planned, but the exact number of stations is still being determined.
As part of the $230 million EV Project, which includes funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and matching funds from private partners, charging stations will be installed in major cities in six states and the District of Columbia.
The Tucson region could receive as many as 240 charging stations.
The Pima Association of Governments is working with the project manager, San Francisco-based ECOtality, to install the stations just as the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars begin to roll out.
Some 150 sites have already been plotted and looked at to host charging stations, said Colleen Crowninshield, Clean Cities manager with the Pima Association of Governments.
"We want to make sure every jurisdiction gets some infrastructure to support the vehicles," she said.
The charging stations work for all electric vehicles.
The Tucson and Phoenix regions were selected for infrastructure through the EV Project so officials could see how electric car batteries fare in Arizona's weather, Crowninshield said.
Officials in Oro Valley aren't sure how many town residents will one day drive electric vehicles, but they said Town Hall is a high-traffic area, with town services and the library all in one place.
ECOtality will reimburse the town for electricity costs associated with use of the stations, Vella said.
After one year, the town can opt to buy the charging stations for $1.
The town also would have the option of continuing to work with ECOtality or removing the stations.
A version of this article also appeared in Thursday's Northwest Star. Contact reporter Andrea Rivera at email@example.com or 807-8430.