CapMetro, Austin’s regional public transportation provider, is working with HOLT Renewables and bp pulse to bring solar-powered electric vehicle charging infrastructure into its operations.
In 2021, the CapMetro board approved the purchase of approximately 200 zero-emissions buses – the largest procurement of battery-electric transit buses in the country. To support the fleet, the project requires innovative use of solar canopies that will produce renewable energy and double as a mounting structure to enable hands-free overhead charging. The project will cost $34 million.
“This project will be a game-changer for our agency. We’ll be able to get more of our zero-emissions buses out on the road to provide a quieter and more comfortable ride for our customers,” says Dottie Watkins, president and CEO of CapMetro.
HOLT Renewables will design and construct a photovoltaic canopy system spanning 12 acres with over 7,000 panels. The project will also employ the country’s largest deployment of pantograph depot chargers, which are overhead chargers that connect to the vehicle’s battery.
To support this project, bp pulse, the electric vehicle charging arm of global energy company bp, will oversee installation of its patent-pending mounting system, PIDE, that integrates pantograph charging with solar canopies. The PIDE canopy mount is specifically designed to be attached to a tilted solar canopy, enabling EV charging deployments with uneven surfaces, which is a common barrier preventing wide-scale adoption of integrated solar and EV charging.
The new infrastructure will be located at CapMetro’s North Operations bus yard, located at 9315 McNeil Rd.
Construction is scheduled to begin in October.