LA to install megawatt solar microgrid to charge electric buses
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has been awarded a $6mn grant by the California Energy Commission to install one of the largest EV fleet charging systems in the US. The funding comes after the agency had announced to transition its entire fleet to electric in time for the Summer Olympics in 2028.
The LADOT charging system will feature a solar and storage microgrid paired with 104 EV chargers. LADOT selected Proterra and Apparent to install the microgrid and electric bus chargers at the agency’s Washington Bus Yard. It will manage charging and overall energy use for more than 100 electric buses.
LADOT had reportedly ordered 155 electric buses in February 2020 and deliveries have since been underway with BYD to deliver 130 electric buses and Proterra another 25. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at the time considered the order from BYD the largest purchase of electric buses in the USA to date.
Today’s announcement confirmed Proterra had completed the delivery of all 25 electric buses of type
ZX5. LADOT also said it currently operates 29 EV buses in its fleet, with 30 additional buses expected to operate by summer 2022.
Regarding the new charging depot, the agency revealed it would deploy 1.5 megawatts of rooftop and bus solar canopy paired with a 4.5MWh energy storage system provided by Apparent at the Washington Bus Yard to help power five Proterra 1.5-megawatt fleet chargers with 104 remote EV charging dispensers. The microgrid will utilize Apparent’s intelligent grid operating system (igOs) platform to integrate Proterra charging infrastructure with energy generation. The system will also coordinate how and when the electric buses are charged with energy generated from solar or drawn from storage or the utility. At seven-and-a-half megawatts of EV charging power, the project is one of the largest fleet charging installations in the United States, so LADOT. However, the agency has yet to provide a timeline for the installation.
While the charging infrastructure was to be part of the project from the start, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds said the new grant through the CEC provided “an essential support facility as we move closer to our goal of a fully electric fleet.”
In 2019, the City of Los Angeles established the goal for LADOT to achieve a 100% electrified bus fleet by 2028 as part of its Zero Emissions Roadmap 2028 2.0 for the Los Angeles area. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by 25 per cent by the 2028 Olympic Games. In addition to electric buses, LA also hopes more private cars will be switched to electric drives. In the congested metropolis, however, alternative means of transport are also to be strengthened and promoted to reduce traffic volume.
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