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On Wednesday, Valley Metro will begin powering its new rail operations and maintenance center with solar power. The new plant utilizes 2,800 solar voltaic panels that span 1.15 acres, and it's capable of generating 1.3 million Kilowatt-hours of energy saving annually — the equivalent of powering 123 homes, Valley Metro officials said in a press release. The agency received a Transit Investments of Greenhouse Gas and Emissions Reduction (TIGGER) federal grant to help fund construction and installation of the new solar power system. Additional funding was secured through the Arizona Public Service Company's Schools and Government Incentive program.Valley Metro did not disclose the project's cost."From reducing greenhouse gases to improving fuel usage, we are proud to be involved in a variety of initiatives to protect and preserve our environment," said Steve Banta, chief executive officer of Valley Metro. "Solar energy is a principal addition to our growing sustainability efforts."The agency also earlier received bronze-level status from the American Public Transportation Association for its commitment to making sustainability a part of its strategic investments, developing an awareness program and establishing a sustainability inventory, officials said.