Billtown electrified

Grant helps school district add EV charger

For The Weekly Post

WILLIAMSFIELD – Someday, we are told, there will be electrical vehicles everywhere as well as charging stations to keep them going.

While someday has not yet arrived in most rural locales, the Williamsfield School Board took a step in that direction Monday.

The board voted to approve the purchase and installation of an EV Charger at the district’s bus barn. The charger comes with a 125kW DC fast charger power control station and will have two dispensers, with room to add three more down the road.

One dispenser will be placed inside the bus barn to power an electric bus the district hopes to purchase for next year. That decision was tabled Monday after discussion about a repowered or refurbished bus.

Superintendent Tim Farquer advised the board to table its vote until they receive a quote, which he said should be available by the next scheduled board meeting on May 9.

The other EV dispenser will be placed outside of the bus barn and can be used for school vehicles, staff vehicles or for visitors.

Farquer said the charging station will use power from the district’s array of solar panels to help charge bus batteries, but will release energy to the school building or grid when not in use.

“Kids will breathe cleaner air on our buses as we electrify our fleet. We will decrease our carbon footprint,” Farquer said. “We will trade diesel fuel cost increases for stable pricing associated with solar energy we produce onsite. These are nothing but wins for our kids and our community.”

Half of the $88,230 cost is covered by a matching grant from the Illinois State Board of Education.