Ohio Unveils State’s Largest Rooftop Solar Array

Joanna Schroeder

The Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority (RTA) unveiled the largest solar rooftop array in the state of Ohio today. RTA’s new solar rooftop on the RTA bus garages at METRO’s headquarters is rated at 488 kilowatts DC, and is expected to produce around 486,760 kilowatt hours of solar power a year. The $2.5 million project was installed by Ohio-based Third Sun Solar of Ohio and the array is comprised of 2076 of Sharp 235-watt solar modules. A portion of the cost of the project was provided by funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“In collaboration with Third Sun Solar, we are so pleased to be helping Akron Metro reach its goals of sustainability by harnessing the power of solar energy.” said Eric Hafter, senior vice president, Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. “This project contributes to the same mission as Akron Metro in helping reduce the use of fossil fuels. Akron Metro reduces emissions by transporting people using efficient public transportation and now adds emission-free power to provide energy for their operations.”

Sharp has also been selected to provide solar panels for an additional phase of the project which will begin construction in late 2010. This phase, a second roof array on the same complex, will supply another 355 kilowatts DC and utilize an additional 1477 Sharp panels and will also be installed by Third Sun Solar. Sharp’s solar panels are designed to withstand rigorous operating conditions, while offering high power output per square foot of solar array.

“Taking public transportation has always been a great way to reduce your personal carbon footprint. But Akron Metro goes way beyond encouraging Akron residents to leave their cars at home,” said Robert Pfaff, Executive Director at Akron Metro. “In addition to solar power, we also use diesel/electric hybrid and natural gas buses in our fleet, and we recycle rainwater for use in landscaping and restrooms. We’re so proud that Ohio’s largest rooftop solar array is right here in Akron,” he said.

Using calculations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the new project will prevent 350 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of 39,322 gallons of gasoline.

“We are pleased to help Akron Metro further their commitment to protecting our natural resources by investing in the energy solutions of tomorrow,” said Michelle Greenfield, CEO at Third Sun Solar. “Investments like this one in alternative energy solutions are helping drive the transformation of Ohio’s economy to clean, renewable energy and creating new green jobs,” she said. Twenty-nine green jobs were created or retained in Ohio as part of the Akron Metro solar project.

News, Solar