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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis December 2, 2011
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MARTA Opens Innovative Solar-Powered Bus Facility

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) recently welcomed Therese McMillan, deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, to commemorate the installation of a locally manufactured solar-powered canopy at a bus garage near Atlanta. The Laredo Garage solar canopy, funded with a $10.8 million federal grant, is the largest structure of its kind in Georgia and the second largest within a U.S. transit system.

The 190,000-square-foot garage uses more than 4,800 photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on the roof canopy According to MARTA, the solar canopy is expected to save nearly $160,000 in utility expenses annually, cutting the garage’s electric bill nearly in half. It will provide further savings as it reduces summertime temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees, allowing buses parked in 220 stalls beneath the shaded canopy to use less fuel for air conditioning and enhance the work environment.

The project’s environmental benefits are estimated to be equivalent to planting more than 285 acres of trees annually.

“FTA is proud to be MARTA’s partner on a project that clearly demonstrates the transit industry’s capacity for innovation and ingenuity,” McMillan said. “We will continue to support competitive projects that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, spur the transit industry to reduce costs and increase efficiencies through smart energy policies, and create more green jobs for the 21st century.”

MARTA Board Chairman Jim Durrett responded: “We’re thrilled that the solar technology used to build the canopy for the bus facility was born out of Georgia Tech’s PV lab.  To be able to use home-grown technology to power this landmark project is a clear demonstration of the clean energy innovation and leadership found here in Georgia.”


At ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the solar-powered canopy at MARTA’s Laredo Garage are, from left, Circle D Enterprises President Hebrew Dixon III; Suniva Vice President of Sales for the Americas Matt Card; MARTA Board Member Harold Buckley; MARTA Board Chair Jim Durrett; MARTA General Manager/Chief Executive Officer Dr. Beverly A. Scott; FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan; FTA Region 4 Administrator Dr. Yvette Taylor; DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May; and Huntly Gordon, executive vice president of New South Construction.


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