PISCATAWAY, NJ – Energy conscience employees at Verizon’s Piscataway campus will soon be able to charge their electric vehicles while they’re at work.

Representatives for the communications giant were granted approval at Wednesday’s planning board meeting to install ten vehicle charging stations and nine solar panel canopies in their East parking lot along with new landscaping and energy efficient lighting.

“The West lot has been improved and we’ve done improvements along Centennial Avenue including sidewalks, curbing and landscaping,” said an attorney for MCI Communications Services, Inc. which is representing Verizon’s application.

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The property at 201 Centennial Avenue consists of a 3-story office building and data center, “two buildings that are connected together with parking lots on both sides,” said the attorney.

“The East lot is the final piece,” he said. “We haven’t started the East lot because we want to put solar panel canopies in to provide power for the buildings and we’re going to add electric vehicle spaces” in line with a town ordinance that requires a certain number be installed.

At a previous planning board meeting, town officials approved 948 parking spaces for the lot with space for compact vehicles.

While nineteen of the spaces are being created to serve electric vehicles, the ten charging stations are duplex units and can each serve two parking spaces, said Anne K. Anderson, the site engineer for the project.

The nine solar canopies will consist of 4 larger canopies that will cover the existing parking spaces and five smaller ones that will be installed over the new expanded part of the lot, said Anderson.

Planning board members expressed concerns about how the cantilever design of the solar panel canopies would prevent snow and ice from falling to the ground, possibly injuring people as they walk beneath.

“The grading of the solar panels will address any issues with preventing snow and rain from falling below,” said Peter McCabe, a structural engineer with Dewberry Engineering.

For rain, “the canopies contain gutters and downspouts that drain to the landscaping,” he explained.

Verizon officials said they expect construction to begin soon and should take 6-8 months to complete.

TAPintoPiscataway.net is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway.

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