Transit Planning
Solar Panels are Producing Renewable Energy at South Tryon Bus Maintenance Facility

Immediate Release: May 10, 2013

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has joined the ranks of renewable energy producers with the installation of 126 solar panels at its South Tryon Bus Maintenance Facility. The 250 kilowatt Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system has 126 solar panels and can generate 362,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

“The bus canopies comprise about an acre of land that is drenched by the sun, allowing them to produce clean, renewable energy,” said CATS manager of project development David Feltman. “Since installation in November 2012, the panels are creating about 5 percent of energy used at the South Tryon Facility.”

A team of UNC Charlotte engineering students were sponsored by CATS to evaluate the feasibility of installing solar panels at the South Tryon facility for structural, financial and energy production benefits. As a result of the students’ positive analysis, CATS applied for and was awarded a $1.1 million Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) II grant to install solar panels that would cover half of the nine bus canopies. The TIGGER II program was developed to encourage transit agencies to create innovative strategies that would help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas and/or the use of energy in transit operations.

The project also includes drop-down electricity capabilities for future electric bus charging stations, an inverter that can handle twice as many solar panels as are currently installed and monitoring software to track the renewable energy production in real-time. Staff and project engineers designed the project to easily accommodate additional solar panels on the remaining half of the bus canopies when funding becomes available. With a fully covered canopy, the panels can generate about 10 percent of the facility’s energy use.

To learn more about CATS and transit planning, please call 704-336-7433 or visit us on the web at www.ridetransit.org.