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BlueBullet NEWS & EVENTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           September 21, 2009                     
CONTACT:         Lyle Harris

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Presents MARTA with a $10.8 Million Grant for Solar Canopies at Laredo Bus Facility    


   WMV iconClick here to view the video of this ceremony (WMV format, 82MB)

WMV icon Click here to view the video montage of this ceremony (WMV format, 14MB)

MARTA is the recipient of largest TIGGER grant in the country

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded MARTA with a $10.8 million grant under the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Grant Program.  Secretary LaHood was accompanied by newly appointed Federal Transit Administrator, Peter M. Rogoff

The grant will be used to install energy-efficient solar panels at the Laredo Bus 

Maintenance Facility in Decatur, GA resulting in considerable cost-savings for MARTA and creating much-needed economic opportunities for metro Atlanta.

The TIGGER award represents a timely and substantial contribution to MARTA’s sustainability initiatives and continuing commitment to be innovative and cost-effective.   

“Thank you so much to Secretary LaHood for awarding MARTA with this substantial grant, which will help us significantly improve the energy efficiency of our operations, cut our fuel consumption and emissions, enhance our work environment, and create additional jobs for our region,” said MARTA’s General Manager/CEO Dr. Beverly A. Scott.

The turnkey project will provide for shade structures with integrated, grid-tied photovoltaic cells at the Laredo bus lot. The steel-and-concrete structures will cover 220 bus parking stalls, and will include translucent panels to filter sunlight. The canopies will be equipped with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide ample lighting for safety and maintenance activities at night. These PV panels will generate electricity equivalent to the facility’s annual electricity consumption.

“This is truly a win-win for MARTA and for the environment,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  “It shows that MARTA is helping to lead the way to make public transportation cleaner, greener, and more energy-efficient for everyone who lives and works in Greater Atlanta.”

Once completed, MARTA’s Laredo project will be the largest solar PV installation in Georgia. It will rank as the second largest in use by a U.S. transit system behind the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 1.2 megawatt installation.

In addition to producing power, the shade structures will reduce summertime temperatures by as much as 50 degrees underneath the canopies. The canopies’ other benefits include lowering bus fuel consumption, reducing the need for air conditioning and enhancing the general work environment for MARTA operators, maintenance and facilities personnel.

“The MARTA board of directors is incredibly grateful to the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation for giving us the opportunity to move forward with this unique project, which will help us better achieve our goals of becoming more energy-efficient and cost-effective as an agency,” said MARTA Board Chairman Michael Walls.

Projections show that the panels will generate 1,200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, which will offset about 0.6 percent of the Authority’s overall power consumption annually as well as during the course of the project’s estimated 45-year life span. This project estimates a net income of $159,280 per year, for a total of $7,167,600 over its 45-year useful life, which will be used to offset the cost of the electricity needed for the Laredo Bus Maintenance Facility.  Through a negotiated rate with Georgia Power, this electricity will be sold back to the power grid, and Georgia Power will provide a credit to MARTA for the electricity.   

Approximately 20 new jobs will be created directly by this program and an additional 12 jobs indirectly for manufacturing, sales and distribution. The total capital cost for the project is $10,820,250, and it’s expected to be completed in 18 months.

The Laredo project will further advance MARTA’s commitment to being a leader in transit excellence and environmental stewardship.

Last year, the MARTA Board of Directors approved a Sustainability Policy for the Authority, including a Strategic Plan to secure funding through the federal Energy Independence Security Act, reduce its carbon footprint and prioritize the most effective “green” action items, going forward.

In March, MARTA and the city of Atlanta were awarded a Clean Cities Lifetime Appreciation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. The agency lauded MARTA for deploying a fleet of clean-burning, compressed natural gas buses that currently save the equivalent of about seven million gallons of petroleum every year.

As part of its sustainability initiative, MARTA became a signatory to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Sustainability Program. This nationwide pilot program calls on MARTA and other signatories to take pro-active steps to preserve the environment for current and future generations, to be socially responsible and to maintain economic viability.


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