Over the years, Valley Metro has continued its commitment to provide environmentally friendly public transportation by installing solar panels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save costs. Per Mackenzie McGuffie, Sustainability Coordinator for Valley Metro, “With our light rail running off electricity and 75% of our buses powered with compressed natural gas or hybrid engines, Valley Metro’s fleet is more environmentally friendly than many other transportation options. Solar at every maintenance facility means that our vehicles are being operated AND maintained using clean or renewable sources.”
Valley Metro activated 2,800 solar panels at our light rail Operations and Maintenance Center in 2015. The solar panels produce 15%-20% of the facility's energy, equivalent to powering 123 homes per year. This installation has generated more than six million kWh of solar energy equaling over $377,000 in cost savings. As of October 9, 2020, it has offset 4,374 tons of CO2, equivalent to saving approximately 109,669 trees. About 493,514 gallons of gas have been saved so far.
The next installation occurred in 2016, with 1,704 solar panels powering 30%-45% of the East Valley Bus Operations and Maintenance Center in Tempe. The energy produced is equivalent to powering 60 homes annually. The facility is also a LEED-certified building. This installation has generated more than three million kWh of solar energy.
Last summer, Valley Metro activated 3,500 solar panels at our Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility in Mesa. The canopies provide 76,000 square feet of shade coverage, reducing temperatures inside buses as much as 40 degrees, and now they don't have to spend as much time idling to cool down before they depart for service. The reduced cool down time equates to $67,000 of fuel savings each year. The energy produced by the solar panels is equivalent to the energy used to power 171 homes in a year. It’s projected that over an estimated 20-year life span, the solar canopy will save approximately 88,970 gallons of gas, 573,328 gallons of water, and over 20,274 trees due to the offset of CO2.
To keep up to date on Valley Metro’s real-time solar data, please visit https://www.valleymetro.org/sustainability.