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Rider's Almanac Blog

Go Green Light Rail

Sunshine harnessed for electricity at LRT facility

| Tuesday, November 26, 2013 3:30:00 PM

Metro Transit is getting a little greener (again).

This month, a new 40-kilowatt solar array will come online at the Light Rail Support Facility, located east of the METRO Blue Line on Franklin Avenue. The facility serves as a base for all Metro Transit staff responsible for maintenance within the light rail right of way.

The new rooftop array includes 150 solar panels tilted to the south to capture sunlight. The panels are expected to replace up to 12 percent of the energy used at the facility, reducing energy costs by as much as $4,000 a year.

The $130,000 project was supported in part by Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy, which provided $58,000 through its Solar Rewards program. The arrays were installed by Hudson, Wis.-based Energy Concepts.

This is the first time Metro Transit has installed a rooftop array atop one of its buildings but similar projects could be coming in the future at other facilities. Metro Transit’s engineering staff is beginning to explore options at seven other sites, including bus garages, where rooftop solar arrays could be installed.

Solar panels are also part of a new 1,000-space Park & Ride at Highway 610 and Noble Parkway now under construction. When completed next spring, the Park & Ride will feature LED lighting, a geothermal heating and cooling system and charging stations for electric vehicles. Smaller solar panels have also been used to power lighting at nearly a dozen bus shelters in south Minneapolis, an effort that will extend next year to north Minneapolis.

Metro Transit is aiming to cut in half the amount of energy it purchases by 2020 and has a goal of installing 500 kWh of renewable energy generation by the end of 2020.

> Solar power lighting Metro Transit buildings, shelters

> Go Greener with Metro Transit