HOLT Renewables installing Solar-powered Overhead Chargers for Austin's CapMetro Transit Bus Yard

April 24, 2023
HOLT will join with bp pulse to develop the project for CapMetro. The solar photovoltaic canopy system will span 12 acres with more than 7,000 panels. This could supply more than 200 electric buses

Austin-based HOLT Renewables will design and build the first solar-powered charging infrastructure with overhead systems for the central Texas region’s public transportation provider.

HOLT will join with bp pulse to develop the project for CapMetro. The solar photovoltaic canopy system will span 12 acres with more than 7,000 panels.

This solar capacity will supply power to more than 200 battery electric buses, HOLT says. The CapMetro project will include the deployment of new-generation pantograph depot charging technology, which will be hands-free overhead chargers that can connect to the buses’ batteries.

“This project will be a game changer for our agency,” Dottie Watkins, president and CEO of CapMetro, said. “We’ll be able to get more of our zero-emissions buses out on the road to provide a quieter and more comfortable ride for our customers. We look forward to this partnership with HOLT Renewables as we continue to expand our sustainability efforts across the central Texas region.”

CapMetro—which includes road and commuter rail services—runs 83 bus routes around the Austin area and central Texas, including 13 high-frequency routes. The transit system has more than 350 buses in its fleet, including 12 E-Buses although that number will rise.

It also moves millions of riders each month. The electrified station will be located at the North Operations bus yard, with construction set to begin in the fall.

“We welcome the opportunity to work alongside CapMetro in pioneering the future of sustainable mobility,” said Peter J. Holt, CEO and general manager of HOLT. “This project will kickstart the transformation of public transportation in Central Texas and help our state move toward a more efficient solution for charging electric vehicles. We have seen the industry shifting toward green solutions, and this visionary initiative from CapMetro will better protect people and the planet while setting the standard for a cleaner transportation system.”

Holt Renewables will be supported in the project by energy giant bp’s EV charging infrastructure wing, bp pulse. The latter will oversee installation of the PIDE mounting system on the canopies.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this project with CapMetro and HOLT Renewables to design and deploy a charging solution that will support the energy needs of the battery electric fleet while maximizing onsite renewable energy generation with solar canopies,” said Vic Shao, President of bp pulse fleet. “This project is yet another example of the innovative solutions bp pulse is bringing to the market to accelerate electrification in transportation.”

Acquired in 2019, HOLT Renewables is a division of HOLT, which also owns HOLT CAT, the largest Caterpillar dealership in the United States. HOLT is committed to sustainability and has installed more than 7,200 solar modules at 12 of their facilities, generating approximately 3.1 million kWh of carbon-free electricity, according to the company.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 15-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]).

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