In 2012, E-470 kicked off the initiative to use and provide sustainable energy in our operations. We began the E-470 Solar Project with the goal of eliminating the need for imported oil to be used in the conventional generation of electricity. By replacing the generation of electricity with solar energy, E-470's efforts alone will stop the production of 24,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the 20-year life of the program and reduce Colorado's reliance on non-renewable, carbon-based fuels.
In the first year of the program, E-470's 17-mile stretch of solar paneling between 64th Avenue and Gartrell Road produced over 1,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, enough energy to power 1,000,000 iPhones or Androids for one year. In 2017, the 22 solar collection sites combined to produce about 1.2 million kWh of energy, which is used to power one third of the toll road. The energy from the solar panels powers streetlights, variable message signs, toll collection equipment, toll plazas, and maintenance facilities all along the E-470 Corridor. The E-470 Administrative Headquarters building off of 6th Parkway in Aurora even has its own array of panels on the roof. All the panels are built to allow for any solar energy left unused by E-470 to be banked and drawn on in the future.
The E-470 Solar Project is the result of a solar power purchase agreement that allowed the solar array to be installed in 2012 and continually maintained by New York-based Adamas Energy Investments, LLC. The goal is to replace 61,000 barrels of oil-based energy with solar energy over the life of the project; so far, the solar installations have generated 7,875,422 kWh of energy, equivalent to preventing the use of 12,894 barrels of oil, 626,658 gallons of gasoline, and the creation of 5,569 metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.
While the E-470 Solar Project is certainly improving our sustainability efforts currently, it is an element of E-470’s long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Learn more about our dedication to sustainable practices in the E-470 2018 Earth Week Overview. This Project is unique, and likely the most extensive initiative of its kind in the United States toll road industry. In 2013, the program earned the President's Award from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the association’s most prestigious honor, for its innovation.
Many toll roads have enough adjoining land to be attractive to investors
looking for space to house solar panels, so E-470 hopes to see its solar power innovation
model used again in the future by other tolling entities. Even though the
project officially spans 20 years, the solar installations and examples
that E-470 has set for other organizations of its kind will have lasting
positive effects on state and local communities as well as on the Earth.
Click here to view the E-470 Solar Project Infographic.