As 100-plus-degree temperatures set in, a solar-powered cooling system is coming to a busy Metro light rail stop in downtown Phoenix.
NRG Thermal LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based NRG Energy Inc., will build a system allowing travelers to push a button at the 3rd Street/Washington light rail stop for a hit of cool air.
It comes from NRG’s downtown district cooling system, which uses chilled water underground to help cool buildings. Fans at the light rail stop will use solar power to blow the cold air onto riders.
The system is scheduled to launch by July 5, before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game events begin. The game is set for July 12, but nearly a week of events leading up to it will bring thousands of tourists to downtown Phoenix.
“I was able to experience a similar system during a business trip to Dubai and brought the idea back to Phoenix,” said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. “NRG took the ball and ran with it, investing its money and expertise to make this happen. This solar-powered system will make riding the light rail in Phoenix even cooler.”
The system will operate from May through September each year. NRG is covering all costs of the project and maintenance.
Access to light rail service and station amenities, including fare vending machines, will not be affected by the construction. The project also will include an educational exhibit showcasing the technology and how it works.