BART is celebrating Earth Day by giving its Richmond maintenance shop a massive green make over. Starting today, crews will install 912 photovoltaic solar energy panels on the Richmond maintenance shop roof—enough panels to generate the power to lift a 25-ton BART car. The system is estimated to avoid more than 4.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years. "Not only will BART host a clean renewable solar energy system, it’s replacing the shop’s old, outdated lamps with high-efficiency florescent lighting," BART Board President Thomas Blalock said. "Both conservation efforts will save energy and taxpayers money along with reducing our carbon footprint."
"The lighting upgrade will reduce energy use at the shop by one third and result in cost savings of $107,000 a year," BART Board member Bob Franklin said. Franklin chairs the Board’s first Sustainability/Green Committee. "BART’s green make over is good for the environment and it’s great for local jobs," BART Board Member Lynette Sweet said. Sweet represents District 7, which includes the City of Richmond.
FIRST OF THREE SOLAR PROJECTS
We selected the Richmond maintenance shop because its roof is angled in such a way to catch the best light. In the afternoon when there’s peak solar energy, two-thirds of the shop’s power will be from the sun. The solar installation in Richmond is the first of three sustainable energy projects that will be installed by Beltsville, Maryland based SunEdison, BART avoided all upfront capital investments and will purchase electricity from SunEdison North America’s largest solar energy services provider, at long-term predictably priced rates. "Under a solar power services agreement with SunEdison, the company will also install a solar energy system on the roof of the Hayward maintenance shop and a solar panel canopy in a portion of the Orinda Station’s parking lot," BART Board Member Gail Murray said. Murray represents District 1, which includes the Orinda Station. "During the daylight hours, SunEdison will supply Orinda Station with nearly all its electrical needs." The trains, however, run off a separate power source and will not use the solar-generated electricity.
$3.4 MILLION SAVINGS
BART projects over the next 20 years it will be able to shave approximately $3.4 million off its energy costs. That’s because this agreement will implement significant ways to reduce energy costs at the maintenance shops. BART Board Member Franklin said, "To BART, everyday is Earth Day. This solar initiative is another example of BART diversifying its power supply from cost-effective, environmentally-sound sources. People know when they ride BART they are bettering their environment and this initiative underscores our mission to provide an energy efficient way to travel around the Bay Area."