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Nation's first solar energy/electric bus project to be brought on line.

CLEARWATER, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 9, 1995--The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) will dedicate and officially bring on line the nation's first Photovoltaic (PV) Array solar recharging station to be partnered with an electric-powered bus Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 9:00 a.m. at its Clearwater headquarters.

The PV array, recently mounted on a specially designed superstructure at the south end of the bus maintenance garage at PSTA's Clearwater headquarters, resembles a large carport or awning with enough overhead coverage to park 15 full-sized vans. When in full production on a sunny day, the array will provide enough power for recharging PSTA's electric bus battery packs and approximately 20 percent of the needs of the maintenance garage.

"The PV array and electric bus project provides safe, reliable transportation with a vehicle run on solar energy which has nearly zero emissions," said Roger Sweeney, PSTA executive director. "The array also will help to offset energy costs for operating maintenance equipment used in the garage."

The panels on the PV array constitute 2,312 square feet of solar collection surface and collect enough solar energy to power the equivalent of five to seven typical Pinellas County households each day. There are 90 panels, each measuring 74 inches wide by 50-1/2 inches long, which comprise its total overall size of 17 feet wide by 136 feet long. Each panel weighs 105 pounds and has 216 silicon solar cells. The panels face the sun at a 15 degree angle to receive maximum sun exposure.

PSTA's electric bus was launched in July and will now serve the Pinellas Park, Fla. community with weekday service using solar generated power. At the time of its launch, PSTA was the second bus system in the nation to receive an alternating current (AC) induction bus, and Florida's first transportation authority to operate an electric vehicle.

PSTA's fleet of 144 buses, which includes the solar-powered electric bus, serves more than 40 routes throughout Pinellas County, and last year traveled 6.6 million miles, providing approximately 465,500 hours of service and 7.95 million passenger trips to an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 people living and/or working in Pinellas County.

PSTA continues to improve its transportation services for Pinellas County, Fla. by encouraging the use of commute alternatives through such programs as the Commuter Vanpool Service and the Commuter Club, a federally sponsored fare-subsidy program available to area employers and employees. Other services available to the public include a speakers bureau and the Show Me service where individuals receive free one-on-one training on how to travel by bus. PSTA also provides transportation for people with disabilities. For more information contact the PSTA InfoLine at 430-9911 (Voice/TTY). -0-

Note to Editors: Media kits containing additional technical information will be available at the unveiling or by calling Jill Cappadoro, director of Marketing, at 813/530-9921. A hard hat tour of the technical area will be provided following the reception at 14840 49th Street N., Clearwater, FL 34622-2893.

CONTACT: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Clearwater

Jill Cappadoro, Marketing Director

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 9, 1995
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