Providence and Worcester Railroad Powers Crossing Stations with Solar

WORCESTER, Mass. – May 15, 2013 – The Providence and Worcester Railroad has partnered with Solect Energy Development to power its signaling stations throughout New England through solar PV (photovoltaic) renewable energy solutions. The .5-1.0 kW systems are designed to supplement the electric power already at the crossing stations, reducing the cost to power each station by up to 50 percent.

The Providence and Worcester Railroad Company, a short-line freight railroad operating in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, has hundreds of crossing signals throughout New England. As the signaling boxes age and are rehabilitated, the railroad is adding solar to the pitched roof of each box through a specialized kit developed by Solect for this application. Thus far, seven stations have moved to solar, with more than 75 more on tap. The solar project was funded in part by state and federal safety and transportation grants.

“What I love about solar is that it’s always working for us,” said Bernard Cartier, director of engineering at Providence and Worcester Railroad. “While these stations are not heavy power users, our electricity bill can be high and every dollar counts. Solar helps keep our costs under control and it’s a good thing to do for the environment. We look forward to moving ahead with the remaining stations as we’ll continue to see a strong economic benefit by adding solar into the mix.”

The solution developed by Solect includes up to four panels mounted on the pitched roof of the 7-foot tall switching stations as well as micro-inverters to convert the sun’s energy to AC power for use at the stations.

“The Providence and Worcester Railroad installation is a great application for solar, as it’s easy to get up and running and has an immediate impact on their costs,” said Scott Howe, business development partner for Solect. “They have been very forward thinking about the process and we’re very pleased with the results they have seen with the initial installations.”