County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef has announced that the Department of Public Transportation recently retrofitted one of its bus shelters with solar panels and a light box designed to provide cost-efficient and reliable power, increased safety and improved delivery of customer information for its Transport of Rockland (TOR) and TAPPAN ZEExpress (TZx) bus services. The installation is a pilot project, and the equipment is currently in the testing phase. The shelter is located on Route 59 East at the NYS Thruway Exit 14 Park & Ride lot.
The project was completed on December 13th and included installation of a light box with four 26 Ah 12-volt batteries and 2-charge controller, four 4-foot 12-volt LED tube lights and four 45-watt high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels. The solar panels are designed to work well in both sunny and cloudy conditions, and, based on eight hours of sunlight, provide up to 12 hours of light time at night from energy stored in the batteries. Monitoring of the shelter since installation has shown that the panels are effectively providing light 24 hours a day.
“The Department of Public Transportation is testing the solar panels now, with the intention of launching a shelter upgrade program in the Spring,” said Commissioner Thomas B. Vanderbeek, P.E. “We hope to retrofit 5-10 shelters each year with the solar panels, and will also include this ‘green’ technology in any new shelters we install once the upgrade program is underway.”
Although shelters throughout the County currently display customer information, it cannot be viewed well at night in most locations due to lack of adequate lighting. The solar-powered light boxes installed in shelters in the future will also improve safety for customers traveling at night. Future uses of the energy generated by the panels could also include Real Time Information Technology, Closed-Circuit TV, audio or advertising.
Cost for the installation was approximately $6,000 and was funded with transportation funds provided to the county (no county tax dollars). The bulbs and batteries for the shelter will need to be replaced about every five years.