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Delaware River Port Authority Completes Major Solar Installation

July 21, 2022

The Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) is powering the rapid transit system serving Philadelphia and South Jersey with 22 Megawatts (MW) of solar energy.

Burns guided the interconnection process and analyzed traction power systems to facilitate installation of 46,600 solar panels across multiple sites, ensuring success for one of the country’s largest transportation-related renewable energy projects.

The solar arrays supply more than 50 percent of the annual electricity needs for PATCO operations.

Bi-state agency Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) structured the project through a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SunPower Corporation. DRPA estimates the project will save $12 million through lower electricity costs, while achieving an environmental benefit equivalent to offsetting the annual carbon emissions of more than 4,000 vehicles.

Burns served as the owner’s representative, overseeing electrical design, construction, and commissioning. Connecting the solar power at multiple locations — four PATCO stations, two interstate bridges, and DRPA’s One Port Center — added challenges unlike any other solar installation.

Burns was retained to ensure the project complied with state and utility requirements, without negatively interfering with PATCO traction power systems.

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