Connecticut Unveils State’s Largest Solar Array

A new partnership in Connecticut resulted in the recent dedication of the state’s largest solar-electric system. Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT), in partnership with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and Select Energy Services, (SESI), is now generating pollution-free electricity from a 23.1 kW solar array at its Hartford Division, 100 Leibert Road, located on the roof of the maintenance garage at CTTRANSIT.

Hartford, Connecticut – February 4, 2004 [] The total project cost was $324,600. This project was made possible with the support of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which covered approximately 40% of the installation cost. The financial contribution from the state’s Department of Transportation, which administers CTTRANSIT, was $186,000. This new solar photovoltaic (PV) array was manufactured by California’s PowerLight Corporation and installed by Select Energy Services. The system is comprised of 210 PV modules covering 3,745 square feet. The solar array generates 23,100 watts of clean electricity, enough to power over 25 homes during the day. The solar generated electricity will be used to power the lights in the CTTRANSIT maintenance shop and storage garage, reducing the company’s annual utility costs. The project also helps reduce electricity load demand on the power grid during critical summer months. “We’re delighted that CTTRANSIT is setting an example for companies and governmental agencies throughout Connecticut by deploying solar power,” said Arthur Diedrick, Chairman of CCEF. “By adopting clean, reliable renewable technologies such as solar power, CTTRANSIT has created an exemplary model-one that should be emulated by businesses and organizations throughout the state.” With financial assistance provided by Connecticut Light & Power and engineering/installation from Select Energy Services CTTRANSIT has entered into an agreement to re-circuit its lighting/controls and replace its existing lighting with energy efficient fixtures. This energy efficiency project, combined with the completed PV project, will reduce CTTRANSIT’s peak energy demand by 147 kW (12%) and realize a 16% energy savings on its electric bills. In 2001, CTTRANSIT began using ultra low sulfur fuel, which reduced bus engine emissions by 90%. This past June, CTTRANSIT began testing two state-of-the-art hybrid diesel electric buses. CTTRANSIT is also researching fuel cell bus technology powered by hydrogen-the clean and renewable fuel of the future. Over the next 30 years, CTTRANSIT’s deployment of solar power will reduce tons of harmful emissions such as sulfur oxide, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, all of which contribute to smog, acid rain and global warming. It is estimated that over the 30-year operating life of the system, CTTRANSIT’s solar powered electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 417 tons. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting 118 acres of trees or not driving over 1 million miles on the roadways of Connecticut. “With new photovoltaic technology we’ll help keep the lights on, saving our natural resources and energy costs,” Diedrick said. “Surprisingly, Connecticut is one of the sunniest regions in the country, making solar power an even better resource.” CTTRANSIT also unveiled a new state-wide public awareness program educating residents and businesses throughout Connecticut on the benefits of “powering Connecticut with solar energy.” A total of thirty CTTRANSIT buses — fifteen in Hartford, ten in New Haven, and five in Stamford — will be promoting the solar message. The solar photovoltaic array project at CTTRANSIT is just one of many clean energy projects being funded by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2000. CCEF funds come from a surcharge on Connecticut ratepayer’s electric bills. Connecticut Innovations, Inc. administers the fund. CCEF invests in clean energy technologies such as biomass, landfill gas, fuel cells, solar, wave and wind and in a range of initiatives consistent with the mission of CCEF. “The CTTRANSIT photovoltaic project is part of a series of clean energy ‘road shows’ to demonstrate the reality and economy of developing home-grown renewable energy initiatives in solar, wind and fuel cell technologies right here in Connecticut,” said Charlie Moret, CCEF’s Managing Director of Investments. CCEF’s other clean energy projects include fuel cell installations at the Peabody Museum at Yale University, South Windsor High School, St. Francis Hospital, New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority and a solar energy power project at the Salmon Brook Ecology Center, Granby, CT. CCEF, CTTRANSIT, SESI, and PowerLight also sponsored a free seminar on February 3RD for businesses interested in discovering the advantages of solar energy. The seminar, with 50 registered participants, was held immediately following the dedication ceremony at the CCEF offices.