The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) unveiled its solar canopy installation project at the Laredo Bus Facility. The federally funded project, finished on time and within budget, is the largest solar canopy in Georgia and the second largest structure of its kind at a public transportation system.
In 2009 MARTA received a $10.8 million federal grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program. Thanks to this funding, the project has created new "green-collar" jobs in metro Atlanta and is harnessing clean, renewable solar power to operate the Laredo Bus Facility in a significantly more energy-efficient and cost-effective way.
The solar panels generate enough electricity to offset a significant portion of this facility's annual electricity consumption and have the same environmental benefit as planting more than 285 acres of trees a year.
The turnkey project includes photovoltaic (PV) cells that cover 220 bus parking stalls and feature perforated panels to filter sunlight. The canopies are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) light fixtures to provide ample lighting for safety and maintenance activities at night.
In addition to producing power, the shade structures will reduce summertime temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees underneath the canopies, lower bus fuel consumption, reduce the need for air-conditioning and enhance the general work environment for MARTA operators, maintenance and facilities personnel.
The Laredo Bus Facility Solar Canopy joins MARTA's growing sustainability program which includes a fleet of clean-fuel buses, water reclamation and harvesting operations, the installation of LED lighting and a waste recycling program.