RIPTA adds solar panels to 33 buses

THE R.I. PUBLIC Transit Authority has added solar panels to 33 of its buses. / COURTESY R.I. PUBLIC TRANSIT AUTHORITY
RIPTA HAS added solar panels to 33 of its buses. / COURTESY R.I. PUBLIC TRANSIT AUTHORITY

PROVIDENCE – Roof-mounted solar panels now top 33 of the R.I. Public Transit Authority’s buses thanks to a partnership with R.I. Commerce Corp. and a Warwick-based clean-energy company, according to an announcement this week.

The cost-saving solar systems, added to RIPTA’s new 2019 diesel buses, are intended to extend vehicle battery life and optimize battery performance. The project was funded through a $42,800 grant from Commerce R.I.’s Renewable Energy Fund and its Small Business Loan Fund. The panels were manufactured by Warwick-based clean-energy company eNow Inc.

The project initially began as a pilot program, in which RIPTA worked with eNow to test the effectiveness of solar panels on its buses over the course of two years. The addition of solar panels to 33 buses makes the state the first in the country to have advanced mobile solar systems on a large scale, Jeff Flath, president and CEO of eNow, said in a statement.

The solar systems are estimated to save RIPTA more than $80,000 a year, the release stated. RIPTA will continue to explore adding panels to more of its buses moving forward, Scott Avedisian, RIPTA CEO, said.

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