Contact: Paul Griffo
DECATUR, Ga. – Deputy Transit Administrator Therese McMillan today joined officials from the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) for the grand opening of a locally manufactured solar-powered bus garage canopy near Atlanta, highlighting progress toward environmental sustainability and energy independence at one of the largest urban transit agencies in the nation. The Laredo Garage solar canopy, which was funded by 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 Obama Administration is committed to building sustainable, energy-efficient facilities like this one that create jobs, provide affordable transportation options, and showcase American innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This project is a great example of what American scientists, engineers, and construction workers can achieve when we invest in the transportation projects we need to keep our economy moving forward.”
The 190,000 square-foot garage uses more than 4,800 photovoltaic panels installed on the roof canopy and is expected to save nearly $160,000 in utility expenses annually, cutting the garage’s electric bill nearly in half. Further savings will be achieved as buses parked in 220 stalls beneath the shaded canopy will need less fuel for air conditioning. The project’s environmental benefits are 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.”
Construction of the Laredo solar canopy project created approximately 20 jobs and helped to sustain or create other jobs at the Georgia-based companies that did most of the work, including New South Construction and Circle D Enterprises, which managed the design-build aspects of the project, and Suniva, which fabricated the solar panels.
The garage features a 1.2 megawatt power-generating system that will be connected to the Laredo bus maintenance facility. Half of the structure will be for the photovoltaic system and the remaining portion provides shade for the buses.
The Laredo solar canopy project was funded completely with $10.8 million awarded through FTA’s first round of Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) grants as part of the American Investment and Recovery Act in 2009.