Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
DRPA breaks ground on solar project to power PATCO trains

DRPA breaks ground on solar project to power PATCO trains

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}

By next year, PATCO riders could be shuttling over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on trains powered at least in part by the sun.

The Delaware River Port Authority held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a 22-megawatt solar project. By 2021, solar panels will provide more than half the electricity consumed by PATCO rail operations, officials said.

Many of the 50,000 panels will be set on 133 parking canopies installed at four of PATCO’s nine New Jersey stations: Ashland, Lindenwold, Woodcrest and Ferry Avenue. The agency’s four stations in Philadelphia are underground and without parking, so can’t be used for solar.

Panels will also be installed at the administration buildings and parking lots for the Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges, as well as DRPA headquarters in Camden.

Officials expect to save $12 million over 20 years through an agreement with SunPower Corp., a large solar company that has worked on commercial projects for Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart and other corporations. It also specializes in government programs.

The DRPA announced the project in 2019. Construction began in winter at the Lindenwold station and is now underway at Ashland.

The installation will include a combination of flat roof mounts, ground-mounted arrays and solar canopies over parking, storage and work areas.

John Hanson, CEO of the DRPA, said SunPower is assuming the upfront costs of construction as part of a solar power purchase agreement. SunPower will develop, own, operate and maintain the system.

In return, Hanson said, the DRPA agreed to purchase the electricity generated by the system for 20 years. The arrangement will allow the agency to receive low-cost electricity while not having to put up the initial costs of building and maintaining the array.

The DRPA will pay $0.078 per kilowatt hour. The most current auction rate from Public Service Electric & Gas is $0.092 per kilowatt hour. SunPower can pursue tax credits and income generated from selling electricity back to PSE&G, the DRPA’s current provider.

“This monumental solar initiative demonstrates DRPA’s commitment to providing world-class transportation services that create significant savings, and added value for the public,” Hanson said.

The DRPA said stations won’t be shut down for construction, which will occur in phases for each parking lot. Some of the lots will eventually be covered with a large number of canopies holding the solar panels. The statistics are:

• Ferry Avenue: 20 canopies; 8,940 panels

• Woodcrest: 27 canopies; 12,280 panels

• Ashland: 20 canopies; 7,540 panels

• Lindenwold: 56 canopies; 18,040 panels

“Clean energy and jobs, they go together,” state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said during Wednesday’s event. “Everyone is scared of this transformation, but it’s a good transformation.”

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

The best local coverage, unlimited

Sign up for a digital subscription to The Press of Atlantic City now and take advantage of a great offer.

LEARN MORE

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News