The Metro Board of Directors has approved $5 million for a new solar generation. This starts a comprehensive three-year plan to install solar panels on every Metro Bus and Rail facility within its Los Angeles County service area.
Solar panels will be installed on Metro Bus Division 18’s maintenance building rooftop and as shading structures in the employee parking lot and will consist of about 1,600 solar panels that together will generate 417 kilowatts of electricity, enough power to save Metro about $25,000 per month, or $300,000 per year. The system, scheduled to be completed in September 2007, is expected to pay for itself in 10 to 11 years.
A motion by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles City Council Member Bernard Parks will enable Metro to concurrently develop a three-year plan to install solar panels on every feasible Metro facility in cooperation with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, The Gas Company and Southern California Edison. The plan will detail a schedule, staffing, costs, rebate availability and other project requirements and benefits for future Board consideration.
“Metro has already proven that it can harness the power of the sun to demonstrate its environmental stewardship and, at the same time, lower its operating costs,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Mayor and Metro Board member. “I want to see that commitment extended agencywide, so that Metro can achieve responsible energy management throughout its offices and divisions wherever it is cost-effective.”
The Carson bus division follows the successful solar panel installation at Metro Bus yards in Sun Valley and Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley. Together they are now saving the agency about $160,000 per year in electricity costs. Those divisions were outfitted with a total of 1,648 solar panels last year. The project, the largest solar power installation of its kind in the transit industry, produces a combined AC 425 kilowatts of clean, renewable electricity — enough electricity to provide up to 20 percent of each bus division’s total energy requirements.
Half the $3.3 million installation cost – or approximately $1.82 million — was provided through utility company rebates designed to assist companies in meeting some or all of their energy needs through installation of, among others, energy saving innovations. Metro will recoup its own $1.48 million investment within 7 to 10 years through reduced electricity costs.