At the Brookville bus depot in Montgomery County, Maryland, buses park under a large solar canopy. The solar is part of a microgrid that’s charging electric buses.
“The depot serves about a third of our transit operation,” says Chris Conklin, director of the county’s department of transportation. “It hosts about 150 buses that provide service in the more densely settled portion of the county.”
Only 14 of those buses are now electric, but the county has ordered 100 more and plans to transition the rest of the fleet served by the Brookville depot within a few years.
That will help reduce carbon pollution. And it benefits the neighborhoods near the depot, too.
“The neighborhoods in which these are operating, they like the quietness of the vehicle, without the engine noise, without the exhaust,” Conklin says.
The solar canopy also helps minimize light pollution from the depot. And it shields drivers and mechanics from rain and snow.
Conklin says riders have embraced the new buses, too.
“They do like the vehicles. They’re sleeker-looking, they’re smoother-accelerating,” he says. “There’s no noise, no vibration from an engine. So they are more comfortable, and people do seem to be appreciating them when they’re out in service.”
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media