Nation’s largest solar bus charging program unveiled in Silver Spring

Nov. 4, 2022, 7:49 a.m. | By Sudhish Swain | 1 year, 7 months ago

The Brookeville Bus Depot in Silver Spring will supply clean energy to the County Department of Transportation’s growing Ride-On electric bus fleet.

On Oct. 31, Montgomery County unveiled the nation’s largest solar bus charging program in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Brookville Bus Depot will support 70 electric Ride-On buses (half of Brookville’s fleet), and is one of three microgrids in the nation that uses solar power for charging public transportation buses. It was completed through a partnership between the County’s Department of General Services (DGS) and AlphaStruxure, an Energy as a Service (EaaS) provider, which is a model where customers pay for an energy service without having to make any upfront capital investment.

The project was provided at no upfront cost to the county by AlphaStruxure through an EaaS contract. Montgomery County plans to transition its fleet, including buses and maintenance vehicles, to zero carbon emissions by 2035. County executive Marc Elrich spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony this Monday. “Transportation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas. We are leading by example by going emission-free,” Elrich said. 

Davis Dise, director of the DGS, explained how this project contributes to a sustainable future. “Reducing the County’s dependence on fossil fuels is vital to our future. Equally vital is ensuring that public facilities are resilient to the unpredictable impacts of climate and infrastructure degradation,” Dise said. 

According to the county’s press release, “transitioning 70 buses from diesel to electric, powered by the on-site clean energy microgrid, will reduce lifetime emissions by 62 percent equivalent to more than 160,000 tons of greenhouse gas reduction over the next 25 years.” Currently, the county has 14 electric buses, and they said that the depot will meet the full charging capacity of 70 buses by 2036. 

During the ribbon cutting event, Elrich elucidated the feasibility of electric bus fleets for prospective counties around the nation. “This is not rocket science, if you can figure out the financing and the partners, you can do this and you can do it quickly,” he says. 

Earlier this month, Montgomery County Public Schools also launched the largest electric school bus fleet in the US, with the count currently standing at 86 buses. 

Last updated: Nov. 4, 2022, 8:44 a.m.

Tags: Silver Spring renewable energy RideOn buses

Sudhish Swain. Hi! I'm Sudhish (he/him) and I'm one of the sports editors as well as a videographer. I often record videos at games, write beats, post recaps/galleries/videos on our social medias, and more! Besides SCO, I love running, listening to music, and learning new languages! More »

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Sudhish Swain — 1 year, 7 months ago

Who is over 16 and still watches Alvin and the chipmunks. Oh is it just me 🙋‍♀️

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