Solar panels installed at Valley Metro Rail Operations & Maintenance Center in Phoenix.

Solar panels installed at Valley Metro Rail Operations & Maintenance Center in Phoenix.

Valley Metro announced plans to begin powering its Rail Operations & Maintenance Center using solar power beginning on Earth Day, April 22. The new solar plant, which comprises 2,800 solar voltaic panels spanning 1.15 acres, is mounted at ground-level and on parking lot shade canopies. It’s capable of generating 1.3 million Kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy savings annually, or enough electricity to power 123 homes.

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“From reducing greenhouse gases to improving fuel usage, we are proud to be involved in a variety of initiatives to protect and preserve our environment,” said Steve Banta, Valley Metro CEO. “Solar energy is a principal addition to our growing sustainability efforts.” Solar power is added to a menu of existing sustainable programs that Valley Metro practices each day including a large fleet of alternatively fueled bus and trains.

Valley Metro received a Tran

Courtesy Valley Metro

Courtesy Valley Metro

sit Investments for Greenhouse Gas & Emissions Reduction (TIGGER) federal grant to help fund construction and installation of the solar photovoltaic system. Additional funding was received through the APS Schools and Government Incentive program. To date, the APS program has helped more than 32 government agencies, 300 schools and 70 school districts install solar energy.

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“This innovative project represents a dynamic way to bring sustainable, emission free energy solutions that will benefit Valley Metro’s customers and the greater Phoenix community,” said Rex Stepp, Renewable Energy Program Leader for APS. “Working with Valley Metro will enable everyone to continue to work together as we collectively build a sustainable energy future for Arizona and advance Arizona’s solar leadership.”

Last week, Valley Metro received Bronze level status in the American Public Transportation Authority’s (APTA) Sustainability Commitment on the basis of making sustainability a part of the agency’s strategic objectives, developing an awareness program and establishing a sustainability inventory. The new solar facility is a vital part of the agency’s overall commitment to sustainability. Valley Metro is one of eight systems across the country to earn this esteemed distinction.

“Congratulations to Valley Metro for receiving Bronze status in the APTA Sustainability Commitment Program,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Valley Metro is being recognized for its strong organizational commitment to improving sustainability, for significant progress in water reduction efforts in an arid environment, and for its innovation that led to saving energy in air conditioning on buses.”

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