Officials representing Valley Metro, cities of Mesa and Chandler cut the official ribbon on June 23 to celebrate the activation of 3,500 new solar panels.
With this installation, all Valley Metro maintenance facilities now rely on solar power, according to a press release.
“Our region benefits when we make progress on our sustainability goals,” Valley Metro Board Chair and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke said in a prepared statement. “The cost savings from this project will allow us to better serve riders while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The panels are expected to produce 2.1 million kilowatt-hours per year, equivalent to the power used by 171 homes in a single year. They are anticipated to save $35,000 a year in energy costs and more than $2 million throughout the term of the solar purchase agreement.
“The installation of this project demonstrates Valley Metro’s continuing commitment to a sustainable system for riders today and for future generations,” Valley Metro Board Member and Mesa District 3 Councilmember Francisco Heredia said in a prepared statement.
“The canopies help buses to quickly cool down allowing more efficient operations and reducing fuel costs.”
The canopies provide a total of 76,000 square feet of shade coverage for buses across four separate structures. With temperatures in the shade as much as 40 degrees lower than in direct sun, buses will not have to spend time idling to cool down before service, a release claims. Savings are estimated at $67,000 per year in fuel costs due to the new shade structures.
In partnership with Standard Solar and Veregy, the project began construction in June of 2019 and the panels started producing energy in May of this year.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Valley Metro on developing and implementing their path to a more sustainable future,” John Mitman, Veregy’s director of distributed energy, said in a prepared statement.
“This project exemplifies our partner-centric approach where customized solutions provide multi-faceted benefits, in this case a future where electric vehicle infrastructure goals are enabled by both solar and shade.”
Standard Director of Channel Sales for the western U.S. Jason Feng said the company is thrilled to put its financing resources behind this project.
“We commend Valley Metro and the area’s elected officials for seeking ways to save money while furthering the goal of protecting the environment,” he said in a prepared statement.