Proterra and Scale Microgrid Solutions are collaborating to install a microgrid and EV fleet charging system for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The project, which just secured a grant from the California Energy Commission, includes solar panels and a battery energy storage system.
In the event of an extended power outage, electricity stored in the microgrid’s battery storage system can provide back-up power to allow the agency to continue operating its electric buses, providing emergency transport if needed. The system will also give VTA the ability to purchase its utility power from PG&E at optimal times, saving the agency on electricity costs.
The system includes approximately 1.5 megawatts of solar capacity, provided by panels on rooftop space and an overhead carport canopy at VTA’s Cerone bus yard. The battery storage system can store four megawatt-hours of usable electricity, and can deliver one megawatt of peak output power—enough to enable up to 20 hours of emergency operations. The agency will also install two Proterra 1.5 MW fleet chargers to power 34 electric transit buses. The microgrid and charging infrastructure will be linked together by a switchgear and controls package designed by Schneider Electric.
The system is expected to come online in late 2023.
“If the lights go out, transit agencies and fleet operators need to know that their electric vehicles will be there for the communities they serve,” said Chris Bailey, President of Proterra Powered & Energy.
“California’s electric grid needs distributed energy resources in order to support fully electrifying its transportation sector,” says Tim Victor of Scale Microgrid Solutions. “The system we are deploying for VTA will set the example of how distributed energy will alleviate many of the risks associated with the energy transition and provide cleaner, cheaper and more reliable charging power.”
“This project combines several VTA goals. It shifts us toward greener sources of energy, saves VTA money that can be reallocated to other operating needs and provides the infrastructure to charge our next batch of zero-emission buses,” said Adam Burger, Senior Transportation Planner with VTA.