SEPTA is going greener with three big energy efficiency initiatives. Locally, the transportation agency will install solar panels along several railways, including the West Trenton Line.

Second, SEPTA has agreed to buy energy from two solar farms in Franklin County, covering a fifth of the agency’s power needs. Thirdly, SEPTA will put $13 million into upgrading its Philadelphia headquarters with LED lights and energy efficient temperature controls.

SEPTA Board Chairman Pat Deon Sr. applauded the initiative late last week.

“SEPTA has been a transit industry leader in sustainability by focusing on projects that both make financial sense and lay the foundation for a green future,” said Deon. “These efforts approved today represent a major step forward, with an approach that will help control costs while delivering significant environmental benefits in the communities we serve.”

On the regional railways, the authority will invest $16 million into solar powered rail signal systems. This will allow trains to function for at least two days in case of a weather emergency. The Chestnut West Hill Line is already operating on this system, and the Doylestown and Warminster Lines are also on the docket.

SEPTA’s Solar Power Purchase Agreement includes a fixed price for the next 20 years of $28.65 per MWh. The two solar farms should provide an estimated 71,765 MWh annually, cutting 55,750 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere per year.

The headquarters upgrade, with its upfront $13 million price tag, should result in a net gain for SEPTA. It expects to save the authority $18 million over the next 18 years.

This retrofit includes:

  • Installation of LED ceiling lights
  • Lighting controls including daylight sensors and dimmers
  • Solar controlled electronic window shades
  • Perimeter weather sealing
  • Water efficient fixtures
  • Intelligent HVAC system controls

Thanks to these initiatives, SEPTA will earn Green-e® certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). This certification will mean SEPTA meets the highest environmental and consumer protection standards in North America.