Harnessing solar power provides significant energy and cost savings

Metrolinx sustainability efforts include renewable energy at multiple GO stations

It turns out the little things that can be done to help save the environment don’t need to be so little after all. In fact, they can be quite significant.

Take Clarkson GO Station, for example. When customers hear solar energy is being harnessed and money is being saved, they won’t see it. On top of the 1,500-space, five-storey parking structure, though, the roof is entirely covered with solar panels.

Clarkson Solar Panels

“Each of our GO Station photovoltaic (PV) systems are 250 kilowatts in size so there are enough to power 125 homes each,” Energy Manager Chun Liang said.

While Metrolinx has grand plans for the electrification of its rail corridors, there are other things already being done to incorporate renewable energy into GO Transit operations.

At this point, six different facilities have PV panels and geothermal systems. Erindale, Ajax, Pickering, Oakville and Clarkson GO Stations as well as the Oshawa Bus Storage and Maintenance Facility have all had the technology installed in the last six years.

“These renewable systems have saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars since they’ve been implemented,” said Liang.

Canadian Solar Combiner Box

The new Bloomington GO Station, now under construction, will also be incorporating rooftop solar panels. Once complete, the annual cost savings for all facilities is estimated to be $170,000. The energy savings would be 1.13 million kilowatt hours. Not exactly a small amount. And more than just a little contribution toward helping the environment.