The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), in partnership with SunPower Corp., Joint Venture Silicon Valley and Wells Fargo, installed solar parking canopy systems, totaling 2.1 megawatts (MW), at its three bus maintenance divisions. Using a Power Purchase Agreement to finance the systems, it is anticipated that VTA will save $2.7 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years.
"VTA will be saving taxpayer money on energy costs while investing in a future that will benefit us all," said Santa Clara County Supervisor and VTA Chair Ken Yeager. "VTA is already combating global warming through the promotion of mass transit and congestion management. Now, we are reducing greenhouse gases through our operations, too."
Today at 1:00 p.m., VTA will host a dedication of the solar power systems at its Cerone Bus Maintenance Division located at 3990 Zanker Rd., San Jose, Calif. Event speakers include Santa Clara County Supervisor and VTA Chair Ken Yeager, city of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, SunPower Managing Director Bobby Ram, and Joint Venture Silicon Valley Associate Director of Climate Initiatives Rachel Massaro.
"The VTA solar project aligns with the city of San Jose's bold energy efficiency and renewable energy goals," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. "This type of project also creates jobs and utilizes technologies from local clean tech companies, like SunPower, that have helped make our region a national leader in green tech innovation."
This project provides significant environmental benefits. The power derived from these solar panel systems will offset VTA's three bus maintenance divisions' electricity demand. The clean electricity generated by these systems will also offset more than 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which is equivalent to removing more than 9,000 cars from California's roads or planting 10,000 acres of trees over the next 20 years.
"California's public sector is expected to save $2.5 billion from solar investments under the state's California Solar Initiative program," said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. "SunPower has delivered reliable, high efficiency solar power systems to public agencies across California, and we applaud the VTA's significant commitment to solar here in the Silicon Valley, which will serve the community by minimizing operational costs and helping to achieve environmental goals."
VTA financed the system through a power purchase agreement with SunPower. Under the terms of the agreement, Wells Fargo owns the systems that SunPower designed, built, operate and maintain. VTA is hosting the systems and buying the electricity at prices that are competitive with retail rates, protected from rising electricity prices. VTA owns the renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the system.
For VTA's solar project, SunPower constructed three solar parking canopy systems using 5,070 SunPower E19/425 high-efficiency solar panels, which will also provide shade and protection for VTA vehicles. Two of the solar installations are located at the VTA's San Jose facilities, including a 548-kilowatt (kW) system at its Chaboya Division and a 969-kW system at its Cerone Division. The third installation is a 637-kW system at the VTA North Division facility in Mountain View.