Solar panels on carports and rooftops not only save money and energy for the AVTA, they also provide shade for vehicles and generate power while reducing the agency's carbon footprint on the environment.
On Monday, the Lancaster, Calif.-based Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) flipped the switch on their 360 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system which is now generating approximately 680,000 kWh of green electricity each year.
The SmartPark system consists of a fixed structure that provides outdoor covered parking with a minimal amount of installation work. Its flexible design makes it completely adaptable to the size and layout of the location, and enables it to accommodate a wide variety of module types and connecting equipment.
The end results will be a savings in operating costs of more than $90,000 at current electricity rates. The panels are installed over carport structures in the parking lot of AVTA’s facility. AVTA will also receive rebates from Southern California Edison under the California Solar Initiative.
It is estimated that 10,000 kWh of electricity generation produces 3.8 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The PV panel system will reduce CO2 emissions by 260 tons each year. Since AVTA’s maintenance facility operates round-the-clock, a significant portion of the bus maintenance, fueling and washing takes place after the buses return from their routes at night. The PV system will be connected to the Southern California Edison grid; and the excess power generated during the day and not used by AVTA will be fed to the grid during peak power consumption periods in the region.
AVTA will draw power back from the grid at night during periods of low demand by other users. Such self-generation systems allow utilities to balance demand and optimize power generation needs. With the new PV system in place, AVTA will be generating approximately 70 percent of the facility’s energy needs.