California bus company installs solar microgrid to power EV fleet – pv magazine USA

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will install 34 new bus chargers, solar panels and a microgrid at its Cerone Bus Yard to enable zero-emission transportation.

January 27, 2022

The California Air Resources Board’s requirement for public transportation companies to transition to 100% zero-emission fleets by 2040 is prompting the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to install a solar-powered microgrid to power its fleet. The VTA received a grant from the California Energy Commission for the project.

In cooperation with Proterra and Scale Microgrid Solutions, VTA will install approximately 1.5 MW of rooftop solar on a solar roof at the Cerone bus station. VTA’s current electric bus fleet consists of 40 Proterra buses, with five more on the way. Once completed, the new charging infrastructure will be able to fully charge a bus in just four hours.

Proterra is a developer and producer of commercial vehicle technology for electric vehicles and, in addition to providing the electric buses, also installs the charging system. Scale Microgrid Solutions is the EV infrastructure integrator with on-site solar panels, a 4 MWh battery storage system and a backup system capable of providing power for up to 20 hours. The system is connected to the grid, but can also switch to island mode in the event of a grid failure. For longer outages, VTA has the ability to easily connect a temporary generator to provide additional backup power for fleet operations. The microgrid and the charging infrastructure are connected by a switchgear and control package developed by Schneider Electric.

The solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage system will give VTA operational flexibility in when to purchase the utility power needed to charge its fleet of vehicles. “California’s power grid requires distributed energy resources to support full electrification of the transportation sector,” said Tim Victor of Scale Microgrid Solutions.

“This project combines several VTA goals. It shifts us to greener energy sources, saves VTA money that can be reallocated to other operational needs, and provides the infrastructure to charge our next batch of zero-emission buses. Our drivers will benefit from a newer, quieter fleet and we will reduce our contribution to climate change and poor air quality,” said Adam Burger, Senior Transportation Planner at VTA.

The microgrid and the charging infrastructure are connected by a switchgear and control package developed by Schneider Electric.

The VTA also works with Lehigh University, whose Institute for Cyber-Physical Infrastructure and Energy has been working on the smart grid for nearly a decade. The system is scheduled to go into operation in 2023.

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