Brookville Smart Energy Depot opens as largest solar bus charging infrastructure project in U.S.
The new depot will provide renewable energy to charge up to 70 electric buses by 2026, in line with Montgomery County’s goal to achieve a zero carbon emission fleet by 2035.
Credit: Montgomery County Government
Montgomery County government has announced that it has opened the Brookville Smart Energy Depot in Silver Spring, Maryland, on 31 October 2022, representing a big step towards its goal of transitioning to a zero carbon emissions bus fleet by 2035.
The new depot is the largest solar bus charging infrastructure project in the U.S. and will supply renewable energy to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) growing Ride On electric bus fleet.
“This project has been garnering attention nationally because it is innovative, ground-breaking, and will help us achieve our ambitious climate action plan to reduce all carbon emissions by 2035,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Transportation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas. We are leading by example by going emission-free. We are the third nationally to have solar-powered charging stations for our buses and we are the largest so far.”
The Brookville Smart Energy Depot includes solar panels installed on tall canopies with charging stations, on-site battery storage and backup generation at an existing MCDOT Ride On bus depot. The 6.5 MW microgrid includes bus-height solar canopies, battery energy storage, as well as more than 4.14 MW of charging capacity and will provide clean, renewable energy to charge up to 70 electric buses by 2026.
The county currently has 14 electric buses and will be purchasing additional buses once a new procurement contract for up to 100 buses is complete in early 2023. Federal funds have been used to purchase the first four electric buses. The depot will meet the full charging capacity of the depot, 70 electric buses, by 2026.
“The Brookville Solar Project ensures uninterrupted bus services during any long-term power outages caused by severe weather as well as any short-term disturbances of the utility grid,” said County Council President Gabe Albornoz. “With global warming and our increase in aggressive weather events, building for resiliency is so important. Many of our residents are dependent on our public transportation system for essential trips, and we’re helping to ensure its reliability.”
The microgrid and charging infrastructure will be delivered at no upfront cost to Montgomery County through an Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) contract, a long-term agreement ensuring predictable operating expenses and guaranteed performance for sustainability, resilience and reliability.
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Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), Montgomery County Government