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CapMetro to install first-ever solar charging infrastructure

The project will also have the largest usage of overhead chargers, also known as "pantograph depot chargers," that connects to the vehicle's battery in the country.

AUSTIN, Texas — Capital Metro (CapMetro) announced that it will be partnering with HOLT Renewables to provide solar-powered charging infrastructure. 

The collaboration, done with the help of bp pulse, will help provide more zero-emission buses throughout Austin. Back in February 2021, CapMetro purchased around 200 zero-emission buses, which are battery electric transit buses. These buses require the usage of solar canopies that produce renewable energy and will cost $34 million.

“This project will be a game-changer for our agency. We'll be able to get more of our zero-emissions buses out on the road to provide a quieter and more comfortable ride for our customers,” said Dottie Watkins, president and CEO of CapMetro. “We look forward to this partnership with HOLT Renewables as we continue to expand our sustainability efforts across the Central Texas region.”

The partnership with HOLT Renewables will provide a photovoltaic canopy system that will convert sunlight into usable electricity. The canopy will span 12 acres and have over 7,000 panels to help power the buses. 

The project will also have the largest usage of overhead chargers, also known as "pantograph depot chargers," that connects to the vehicle's battery in the country.

“We welcome the opportunity to work alongside CapMetro in pioneering the future of sustainable mobility,” said Peter J. Holt, CEO and general manager of HOLT. “This project will kickstart the transformation of public transportation in Central Texas and help our state move toward a more efficient solution for charging electric vehicles. We have seen the industry shifting toward green solutions, and this visionary initiative from CapMetro will better protect people and the planet while setting the standard for a cleaner transportation system.”

The electric vehicle charging will help be supplied by bp pulse, which will oversee the installation of the mounting system – which combines the pantograph charging depots with the solar canopies. The canopy mount is designed to be attached to a tilted solar canopy, which will allow for charging on uneven surfaces. 

“We are thrilled to be a part of this project with CapMetro and HOLT Renewables to design and deploy a charging solution that will support the energy needs of the battery electric fleet while maximizing onsite renewable energy generation with solar canopies,” said Vic Shao, president of bp pulse fleet. “This project is yet another example of the innovative solutions bp pulse is bringing to the market to accelerate electrification in transportation.”

By 2035, CapMetro pledged to have transitioned its bus fleet to zero emissions. The new infrastructure will be located at the North Operations Bus Yard, located at 9315 McNeil Road. 

Construction for the canopies and batteries will begin in October. 

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