By Cameron Chai
Suniva, a producer of high-power solar modules and efficient crystalline silicon solar cells, has powered a solar canopy for the Laredo Bus Facility in Decatur, Georgia. The canopy is a 1.2 MW solar array, which is the largest solar canopy in Georgia, and the second largest in the USA for a transit system.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the project was held on the November 18, by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program, MARTA was awarded a $10.8 million grant for this project. It led to the creation of new “green-collar” jobs in the area. Further, utilizing the clean and renewable solar energy for operating the bus facility was more economical and energy-efficient.
The 1.2 MW solar canopy consists of 4,888 photovoltaic panels. This will provide environmental benefits equivalent to that of planting trees in over 285 acres of land within a year.
Suniva’s chief marketing officer, Bryan Ashley, stated that the solar canopy project was the largest of its kind in Georgia, and that it will generate electricity sufficient enough to offset the yearly power consumption of the bus transit facility.
The chairman of the MARTA board, Jim Durrett, said that the ability to utilize home grown technology for powering the project demonstrated the leadership and innovation for clean energy in Georgia. The solar canopy project will boost the sustainability program of MARTA, which had already implemented waste recycling programs, water harvesting and reclamation operations and clean fuel buses, he added.
Suniva’s high-efficiency solar cells and modules were manufactured in Georgia and are compliant with “Buy America” requirements. They consist 80% components made in the USA.