Bay Area School Buses Turning Green

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Take a yellow school bus, add some green technology, and you have a plan to get students to school more cleanly than ever. Scott Budman reports. (Published Tuesday, May 20, 2014)

    Take a yellow school bus, add some green technology, and you have a plan to get students to school more cleanly than ever.

    Schools all over have installed solar panels and recycling programs. But what about school buses? They have a lot of room to go green, so a Silicon Valley plan is in motion to do just that.

    School buses haven't changed all that much through the years. All that fuel is expensive. Maybe solar panels can help save money.

    Local businesses, along with a San Jose group called Breathe California, are partnering to build electric buses, basically swapping out what's been under the hood for batteries.

    For now, the buses plug in to charge up. Eventually, the plan is to charge those batteries with solar power. The program is soon to launch in the Gilroy Unified School District.

    “It takes an average of $17,000 a year to run a school bus,” Breathe California’s Margo Sidener said. “So, if we can get all the power from solar energy, that saves money for regular school stuff."

    Going from yellow to green won't come cheap. Each bus costs about $150,000 to upgrade,

    But, with more than 400,000 school busses on the road today, the savings over time could be big.

    Gilroy plans to roll the buses out later this month. They'll start taking kids to school in the fall.