RACINE — City Council voted Tuesday to accept more than $1.2 million from the United States Department of Energy to build a solar array at the city’s transit garage, 1900 Kentucky St.
The motion passed 10-1.
The solar array will be used to power the city’s already existing fleet of electric buses.
The city currently has nine electric buses and four more on the way.
The buses currently use traditional electric vehicle charging stations but will be able to use solar power once the panels are built.
The total cost of the project is $2,599,673 and is funded entirely by the federal government. The money will come from the U.S. Department of Energy and the American Rescue Plan Act.
The city is receiving funding because the project was selected to be a part of the 2023 federal appropriations bill.
“Not only is [the department of transit and mobility] accepting this money, but the solar panels will offer savings to the city as well,” Alderman Marcus West said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The project is expected to create more than 25 jobs and save the city about $76,000 per year in energy and operational costs. It is also projected to reduce carbon emissions by about 249 metric tonnes per year.
Racine will be the first city statewide to use solar energy to power their electric transit vehicles.
“We’re certainly the pioneers in Wisconsin,” City of Racine Transit and Mobility Director Trevor Jung said. “Even though this is innovative and new technology, we know it works.”
Credit: Journal Times Staff. City Council approves solar array. The Journal Times. 21 July 2023.