The Fleet of the Future goes Solar

If you’re from the Bay Area, your very familiar with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, also known as BART. BART is the local transit station that connects the Bay Area, currently from four major points, Pittsburg/Bay Point, Dublin/Pleasanton, Richmond and to SFO, with plans to expand to Antioch and the South Bay. BART is used by commuters across the bay area, that dates back to 1972. With new plans to bring Solar on board, the fleet of the future is here.

HISTORY

BART has a long history that dates back to 1911 with visionaries who brought up this Jules Verne concept of creating a underwater tube across the bay. It wasn’t until 1946, when a gathering of business and civil leaders from all over the Bay Area, discussed the idea to help with lessening the congestion that was clogging up the bridges. Then in 1947, the Army-Navy joined forces to create a review Board, and the idea of a link from Oakland to San Francisco would be the best way to prevent congestion now and for the future. What was the idea? An underwater tube across the Bay, with high speed electric trains.

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FUTURE

Fast forward to 2016, BART has undergone a facelift, “The Fleet of the Future,” rolling out as early as April of this year. Along with the new improved train cars, two BART stations will have installed solar panels in the upcoming Antioch eBART Station and the Lafayette station. These are two of the warmer locations that we have in the BART system, one advantage is that their cars are going to be a lot cooler because of this system.” The power generated will be purchased, as agreed to power up the stations. The newly installed panels will also work as shaded canopies in the parking lots.

BART’s path to going solar, started in 2007 with the Union City Station, with plans to expand. Then in December 2014, the expansion was to reach five more stations. Warm Springs Station followed suit, and now Antioch’s new eBart & Lafayette. BART spokesman Chris Filippi said “As we get these newer stations, that’s one thing that we’re always looking at, is how can we be more energy efficient? How can we make these systems even better then before and get them to the public.”

The project will be funded from BART’s energy operating budget and total costs of the project will be $3.75 million. Lafayette station is on track to be fully installed by late Spring, 2017 and fully operational by July 1, 2017, and Antioch’s eBART station will officially open in late Fall 2017 or early 2018, but their solar panels will be fully functioning by October 1, 2017.

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Many experts suggest that taking public/mass transportation is a great way to lessen your carbon footprint. Riding BART, typically gets 21 miles per gallon, and during peak times, 12x more efficient  depending on the amount of riders. That is equal to 249 miles per gallon, which is more efficient than any hybrid vehicle on the market.

BART has been dubbed as the country’s cleanest transit system, with an emission of fewer pounds of CO2 per passenger mile than any other transit system. Running 100% just on electricity, power comes from clean, hydro and renewable energy sources. When you choose to ride BART instead of driving, commuters can save 280,000 gallons of gas, which keeps 4.9 million pounds of CO2 from congesting our air. 

Currently, BART is using energy from a 2.0 megawatt solar farm in the Central Valley, in addition to the new solar contract for the Antioch and Lafayette standards in 2017. 

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