- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Some of the buses in the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority fleet have been equipped with solar panels to boost battery life and performance.

Thirty-three diesel-engine buses have the roof-mounted panels that are expected to save thousands of dollars a year in money spent on replacing or jump-starting buses, the Providence Journal reported Monday.

“This program not only supports a cutting-edge clean technology company in Warwick, but will help make commuting with RIPTA a more energy efficient option for riders,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The panels will be used to start the buses, as well as operate on-board electronics and other auxiliary systems, reducing the strain on the buses’ batteries.

The systems cost nearly $65,000, and about $43,000 was covered by a grant from the state Renewable Energy Fund.

The agency is evaluating the performance of the panels to inform future decisions on the implementation of other clean technology.

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