California city will power traffic lights with solar bus shelters

Perris solar bus stopsThe City of Perris, Calif. is preparing to install six solar-powered bus shelters in different locations around the city.

The grid-tied shelters will have 1.2-kilowatt solar arrays on their roofs, said city planner Clara Miramontes. They’ll also be connected to traffic lights at the location, offsetting their energy use.

“The solar bus shelters will be able to generate approximately 25 percent of the electricity needed to power the traffic lights,” Miramontes said.

The solar bus shelters are being funded with a $75,000 grant from the Riverside Transportation Authority, according to a report in the local newspaper.

The new solar bus shelters are just one among several solar energy and other green developments the city has pursued in recent years.

Starting in 2007, the California city started a new energy and environmental conservation program with Honeywell that allowed the installation of solar panels on carports at five citywide locations, including the library, senior center, City Hall, fire station and corporate yard.

The system provides shade for 240 vehicles along with 370 kilowatts of electricity – enough to power 100 homes, Miramontes said. It covers about 20 percent of the city’s electricity needs.

Coming off of that installation, Perris kept going.

“In 2008, the City of Perris adopted a sustainable community section under the city’s General Plan to set forth the steps needed to assure that future development involves green building and sustainable community policies,” Miramontes said. “The city is always looking for ways to promote green building design.”

And the bus shelters were a good opportunity to incorporate green design.

Each shelter, designed and constructed by Greencrest Energy Solutions, will cost $17,000. That’s the upper end of what a typical bus shelter costs, but still within the range of an average bus shelter that doesn’t also generate electricity and save the city on utilities.

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