Representatives from the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) and SunPower Corporation gathered with public officials at PATCO’s Ashland Station in Voorhees to officially unveil plans and highlight work to date for the 22-megawatt (mw) solar energy project – one of the largest transportation-related alternative energy initiatives in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The solar generation technology includes installation of more than 50,000 solar panels along with 133 high-efficiency solar photovoltaic parking canopies at seven sites: PATCO’s Ashland, Lindenwold, Woodcrest and Ferry Avenue Stations; Commodore Barry Bridge, Betsy Ross Bridge and DRPA’s headquarter building, One Port Center.
With an expected 2021 completion date, the project is expected to provide more than 50% of the total electricity consumption through solar energy for the DRPA and PATCO. The initiative is funded through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) pursuant to which DRPA will purchase all electricity generated by the project. This enables DRPA to purchase the reliable solar-generated electricity at a fixed, pre-determined rate that is lower than the cost of traditional electricity energy typically generated by burning fossil fuels. DRPA is expected to save up to $12 million over the 20-year term.
The project is expected to produce approximately 27 million kWh in the first year of production which is enough solar energy to offset: greenhouse gas emissions from 4,181 passenger vehicles driven for one year; CO2 emissions from more than 2 million gallons of gasoline consumed and the burning of more than 21 million pounds of coal.
“This monumental solar initiative demonstrates DRPA’s commitment to providing world-class transportation services that create significant savings, and added value for the public,” said John T. Hanson, DRPA CEO and PATCO President.
The solar technology project will generate an estimated 22-megawatts (mw) of electricity through a combination of ballasted flat roof mounts, and solar canopies over parking, storage and work areas. All PATCO sites will feature high-efficiency solar photovoltaic parking canopies, which will provide customers’ vehicles with protection from the summer sun and inclement weather.
“This project represents an important and groundbreaking next step for the DRPA and PATCO as we explore new opportunities to promote sustainability within every aspect of our operations,” said DRPA Vice Chair Jeffrey L. Nash. “I’m excited about the potential opportunities that exist for reducing our carbon footprint, while encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and, ultimately, providing more cost effective energy solutions. I join with Chairman Boyer and the rest of the board in applauding and supporting this innovative new project.”
“SunPower applauds DRPA for its efforts to navigate an approach that adds value to its bottom line and enhances rider comfort,” said Eric Potts, senior vice president of SunPower’s commercial direct business. “We look forward to working with DRPA and PATCO, providing our innovative, leading technology solar solutions as well as our expertise in delivering on transit projects.”
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