With an abundance of sunshine, it’s no wonder that some of the most innovative and successful solar power installations are found in California. Recently, the City of Perris, located in green energy-friendly Riverside County, announced that it would use solar power to transform its ordinary bus stops into miniature power plants.
According to city planner Clara Miramontes, six solar-powered bus shelters, similar to these in Japan, will be erected in different locations around the city. Each will have 1.2-kilowatt solar arrays on their roofs and the energy will be used to power nearby traffic lights.
Work on the solar powered bus shelters is expected to begin in late March 2013. The cost of each solar-powered bus stop is about $17,000 while the cost of a traditional shelter ranges from $7,000 to $17,000. While the cost difference may be negligible, the benefits are quite clear: “The solar bus shelters will be able to generate approximately 25 percent of the electricity needed to power the traffic lights,” Miramontes said.
The City is working with Greencrest Energy Solutions on the design and installation of the solar bus shelters. Amrita Holden, senior managing partner at the energy firm, says that excess solar power collected throughout the day will be stored in an on-site battery so that the sun can continue to offset the lights’ energy use, even at night.
“The city will save not hundreds, but thousands of dollars in electricity costs per shelter,” she said. “The sun is paying for that electricity.”