VTA staff holding giant check

Solar Panels Bring Big Paybacks for VTA

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) received a check for $5,000 from Silicon Valley Clean Energy for the extra electricity generated by solar panels at its North Bus Division. The panels were installed in 2011 along with similar systems at VTA’s two other bus maintenance divisions, Cerone Bus Division and Chaboya Bus Division.

“A major goal of VTA’s Sustainability Program is to reduce our consumption of natural resources in the provision of public transportation,” says Christina Jaworski, Senior Environmental Planner at VTA. “Installing solar panels is one of the ways VTA identified to decrease our consumption of grid electricity. In 2018, VTA generated 3.5 MWh of electricity from our solar facilities.”

In addition to the $5,000 cash out, the solar panels will provide impressive savings on electricity costs long term. The three systems in total are projected to save $2.7 million over a period of 20 years, not to mention providing shade and electricity for the facilities. Rooftop solar also powers the Berryessa BART station, and panels will begin providing power at the Milpitas BART station in late 2019.

The $5,000 cash out will be returned to VTA’s transit fund and used to operate the agency’s bus and light rail system. VTA has a number of other sustainability projects and has even rolled out a fleet of five new electric buses to reduce pollution from transportation. VTA will continue to see cost savings from their five facilities with solar and benefit from Silicon Valley Clean Energy’s Net Energy Metering Program, which pays customers back annually for the extra electricity generated from their solar panels.