An updated design for installation of solar panels at the Lafayette BART station was proposed to the Lafayette City Council during their regular meeting Oct. 11. Changes were made to an earlier proposal based on comments from Lafayette citizens and a detailed letter of suggestions from the Happy Valley Improvement Association (HVIA), who viewed the original designs on Sept. 20.
The solar paneling project would provide electricity to the BART station, with output of approximately 750 kilowatt hours; providing enough electricity to run the station as well as to power ample outdoor lighting for the parking area. Additionally, the construction project would provide the infrastructure for electric vehicle power station hook-ups, backers said.
“This is a good location (for solar power) out here,” said BART Energy Division Manager Frank Schultz. “It's the other side of the hill.”
Due to a lack of energy-storage technology, all power generated by the installation would be used on site or within the grid to power other BART stations in the area. Some BART locations, designers said, cannot have their own solar panels because of less than optimal location.
The updated proposal submitted Tuesday addressed the concerns of the Happy Valley Improvement Association which were enumerated in their open letter to the BART Board of Directors. Schultz addressed their concerns and said that the updated plans would be consistent with their suggestions.
The association's primary comments were in regards to the canopy design. The HVIA requested that BART incorporate the following suggestions:
Update the planting on Deer Hill Road
Use earth-tone paints to help the structure blend in to the natural landscape
Incorporate safety features such as blue light phones in canopy posts
eliminate existing pole lights and use enhanced lighting underneath the canopies to limit light pollution
design solar panels to resemble less massive floating installations
tuck the end posts beneath the structure
In statements to the City Council on Tuesday night, HVIA Vice President Bryne Mathisen and Carol Singer of the Lafayette Home Owners Council both expressed satisfaction with the design changes.
Lafayette Mayor Carl Anduri, who was overseeing the meeting, also seemed pleased at the progress in the proposal. “This is a very design conscious community,” Anduri said. He added his hopes that BART would “spend the time to develop a real signature design for (solar paneling at) BART.”