Rooftop Solar Could Proliferate with Voltage Control
When it comes to a clean energy future, you can talk about it, or you can take action. Broward County, Florida is taking action - it recently set an ambitious goal to electrify its fleet by 2030.
When it comes to a clean energy future, you can talk about it, or you can take action.
Broward County is a shining example of taking action today to realize the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy now and well into the future. Broward, the second most populous county in Florida, recently set an ambitious goal to electrify its fleet by 2030. That commitment includes not only its general-purpose vehicles, but also its transit buses.
Broward is in the process of purchasing 5 electric buses that it will use on its I-75 express routes by early 2020. It is committed to purchasing another 15 buses in the near term. As it considers a vendor for its current purchase, it’s doing its due diligence by testing out buses from each vendor to see how they perform in the south Florida heat, in all types of weather generally, and to determine how stops/starts and A/C use effect performance. The range of the buses is approximately 150 miles.
The County is actively working with Florida Power and Light to assess its infrastructure needs for charging the buses. Therefore, as it purchases more buses, it is planning ahead for the charging stations to support them.
Cost savings, pollution reduction
The upfront cost today of purchasing an electric bus is higher than a conventional diesel bus, but over the lifetime of the vehicle, the buses offer significant cost savings. The maintenance of an electric bus is just a fraction of what’s needed for a conventional bus. Charging the bus with electrons is a lot cheaper than pumping liquid fuel into it. For example, the Chicago Transit Authority is saving $25,000 per year in fuel per electric bus – that’s a $300,000 savings over the life of an electric bus.
The electric fleet goal will also help the County meet its targets under its Climate Change Action Plan. A recent study examined electricity generation in all parts of the country and factored that into the environmental friendliness of electric buses throughout their lifecycle. It found that electric battery buses are 2.5 times cleaner in terms of lifecycle emissions than conventional diesel buses. That means a cleaner, healthier Broward County, especially in heavily traveled urban areas.
Even more exciting is that the County is expanding its rooftop solar development by 2.5 MW. Some of the new solar development will be at County bus depots – that means that many of the electric buses on the road could be powered by clean, renewable solar power in the future – effectively driving on sunshine.
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