Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TriMet now producing solar energy at South Terminus

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TriMet in Portland, Ore., has a solar project at the South Terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at SW Jackson Street that is now operational. Located near Portland State University, it's the largest solar project in downtown Portland and a first for the MAX light-rail system.

It will produce approximately 65,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually, offsetting energy used by site lighting and two light-rail electrical system buildings. The excess energy produced will add clean energy to the Portland General Electric grid. The total energy produced is equivalent to reducing 29 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Estimated first year energy savings for TriMet is $4,880, based on 2011 rates. Over the 25-plus-year life of the solar system, TriMet will earn more than 25 times its initial investment as the value of electricity generated continues to be credited against its power bill. This credit will increase as electricity rates rise over time.

"Since MAX trains are all-electric vehicles, we want the electricity they run on to be as clean and local as possible," said Dan Blocher, executive director of TriMet's Capital Projects Division. "This solar system leads in the right direction for the future of TriMet and the region."

Installation cost totaled $366,000, with $263,151 in grants and credit offset, making the net installation cost is about $102,849. TriMet's share is $4,936 and recouped in a little more than a year.

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