"Cool" light rail station debuts in PhoenixPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - Waiting under the scorching Phoenix sun for the light rail to come can be sweaty, but for one downtown station, that's no longer the case.
Solar-powered air conditioning units are now up and running at the Washington and 3rd Street station in downtown Phoenix.
Waiting commuters need only press a button to start a 15-minute blast of cold air.
"It's amazing, it's good, it's inconvenient," said Rafael Salas who commutes to his job at the convention center daily.
The system began operating on July 6 just in time for the MLB All Star game which is expected to bring throngs of tourists downtown.
The system harnesses the powerful Arizona sunshine to run the fans of the air conditioners. Cool air comes from pipes at the adjacent Symphony Hall.
"It's very green, we're not using taxpayer dollars and we're using our best asset, which is the sun," said Hillary Foose of Valley Metro.
The Solar Cooling Station is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
It was the brainchild of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon who saw a similar system while visiting Dubai.
NRG Energy paired up with the city to create the system and foot the $300,000 bill.
Right now the station on Washington and 3rd Street is the only one to have the Solar Cooled Station.
Foose said there is a possibility of expanding the program in the future.