Providence, RI – Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation today announced that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has been awarded $1.2 million in federal funds for solar energy projects. The clean energy funds will be used to install a sun-facing Trombe wall to absorb solar energy and convert it into heating and cooling for the RIPTA Transportation Building where buses are stored. RIPTA will also use the funds to generate power for the building by installing a roof top photovoltaic system that converts sunlight into electricity.
“Rhode Island has the opportunity to be at the forefront of the emerging clean energy economy, and investments such as this will help us get there. These federal funds will help RIPTA lower costs and reduce their energy consumption,” said U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and Congressmen Patrick Kennedy and Jim Langevin.
“RIPTA is always actively looking for innovative ways to reduce costs, improve service, and benefit the environment. With critical support from our federal delegation, RIPTA has made significant long-term investments in becoming greener and cleaner. From new Hybrid buses and trolleys to this solar-powered roofing system, we are looking to improve our service and cut down on energy costs. This project is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for RIPTA’s budget and will free up resources to help serve our ridership,” said Al Moscola, RIPTA General Manager.
Trombe walls have been found to lower annual heating and cooling costs by more than 20%. The photovoltaic system will produce 220 kilowatts of electricity, making it one of the largest solar installations in New England. Combined, these two technologies will produce estimated savings of more than 20% in electricity bills over the lifetime of the project.
The funding is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through a program known as the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction initiative. The delegation helped appropriate $75 million for this grant program in the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill to help public transit agencies around the country make capital investments that will improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gasses.