Valley Metro begins $2.8M light rail solar project

Posted on April 3, 2014

Valley Metro is installing a solar plant capable of generating 780 kilowatts of energy annually while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at its light rail operations and maintenance facility in Phoenix.

The transit system’s board of directors recently approved award of the design-build construction contract at approximately $2.8 million to Natural Power and Energy LLC.

“Adding solar as an energy source expands our menu of daily sustainable practices at Valley Metro, which includes low-emissions fleet and water reclamation systems,” said Steve Banta, Valley Metro CEO. “We constantly strive to be a watchful consumer of energy and appreciate that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is supporting our entrance into solar power utilization.”

The plant is estimated to save the agency approximately 16% — $100,000 on average per year — of the energy consumption at the facility where light rail vehicles are serviced.

Valley Metro was awarded a $2.7 million federal grant through the FTA Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas & Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program for construction and installation of the solar photovoltaic plant. Additional funding was received through the APS Schools and Government Incentive program that provides $85,000 per year in Renewable Energy Credits for 20 years up to 40% — $1.36 million — of the total project cost.

The system should be operational in fall 2014.

The 780-kilowatt facility will produce 1.19 M kilowatt hours annually, or enough electricity for 100 homes per year.

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