Valley Metro Solar Canopies Mean Cooler Buses, Fuel Savings

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, July 6, 2020 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, July 6, 2020 - 7:57am

wide shot of shade structure for buses
Valley Metro
Valley Metro Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility at 3320 N. Greenfield Road, Mesa, Arizona features solar panels.

Valley Metro recently marked a milestone. All of its maintenance facilities for buses and rail now rely on solar power.

The latest project involved installing 3,500 solar panels on bus canopies in Mesa. Valley Metro said the panels should produce 2.1 million kilowatt-hours per year, the same amount of energy used by 171 homes in a year. 

“The installation of this project demonstrates Valley Metro’s continuing commitment to a sustainable system for riders today and for future generations,” Francisco Heredia,  Valley Metro board member and Mesa councilmember, said in a news release.

The canopies provide shade coverage for buses across four different structures and can reduce temperatures as much as 40 degrees. That means buses will spend less time idling to cool down before drivers start their routes. Valley Metro estimates it’ll save $67,000 a year in fuel costs, thanks to the shade.

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