Brooklyn Bridge Park cars are running on the rays of the sun

Brooklyn Bridge Park cars are running on the rays of the sun
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The city’s first solar-powered charging station is up and running in Brooklyn Bridge Park, powering the waterfront development’s five electric cars with good, old-fashioned Brooklyn sun.

The $100,000 charging station is one of only a handful in the world, making the already world-class waterfront park also a prime destination for photovoltaic nerds.

“It’s amazing — it soaks up the sun just like a sponge,” said Lex Heslin, founder of Beautiful Earth, the alternative energy development company that donated the station, which features the solar-power cells atop a shipping container. “It’s absolutely state of the art.”

The science of the station is an intergalactic drama fit for the stage of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The sun blows electrons across the universe until they collide with the 24 panels positioned on the station’s two neon blue- and green-painted steel containers. The electrons get trapped in the photovoltaic cells and their movement generates electricity that gets stored in 40 oversized batteries. From there, a converter turns it into usable power to fill the lithium batteries packed into the cars’ trunks.

Park officials love their silent and green autos.

“They are terrific,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Beautiful Earth donated the charging station, which had been stored in Red Hook previously, to support the park’s other sustainable efforts, which include reusing materials from demolished buildings for park benches and playground platforms and reintroducing marshlands and native habitats.

The station will save the park $200,000 in gas costs over the next 25 years — although it’s not enough to cover the $16-million annual maintenance budget.

“It’s a great idea,” said Rafael Levy, 44, who lives Downtown. “Maybe the whole country will follow us.”

Photo by Stefano Giovannini