Words by Smiley Team
As different industries shift to renewable energy, the DC Metro has been gradually building up a renewable fleet of vehicles. Now, it has more than 14 battery-powered buses and is finding other ways to supplement its energy usage.
And it's going even further. A deal with SunPower Corp – worth $50 million – will install solar paneled carports or canopies over surface lots and above parking garages at four rail stations.
Combined, the four sites will have 12.8 megawatts of electrical capacity, making this the largest community solar project in the National Capital Area and one of the largest in the nation.
“This project benefits residents of our region, even people who don’t ride Metro, by leveraging the potential of our stations to generate revenue and increase the community’s access to a clean, renewable source of energy,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “This project advances the region’s sustainability goals while generating revenue to help keep Metro safe and affordable in an extremely tight budget environment.”
When complete, the stations will have 17 acres of solar panels – the equivalent of 13 football fields – and generate enough electricity to power at least 1500 single-family homes.
“We commend Metro for its environmental and sustainable vision and look forward to partnering with them on this significant project that will benefit our nation’s capital and community,” said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and chairman of the board. “It is an impressive commitment as Metro optimizes its property for renewable energy to deliver long-term benefits, while improving rider comfort and lowering the carbon footprint.”
Homes and businesses in the local PEPCO area will be able to sign up for a share of the clean, renewable energy generated by the project while saving on their utility bill.
“The installation of solar panels at Cheverly, Southern Avenue and Naylor Road Metrorail stations will contribute to lower carbon emissions for the region while creating a new source of power for our communities,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “This project is another step forward in making our County and region a leader in renewable energy.”
The project is part of the DC Metro’s sustainability initiatives and will help advance the Clean Energy DC Plan that seeks to cut carbon emissions in half while transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. Construction is expected to begin early next year.
DONATE: Everybody Solar is a nonprofit that helps people make solar power more attainable.
SUPPORT: Making use of public transportation is something that can help you have an impact on energy usage and climate change.