First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


Shanghai is the first city in the PRC to generate power for the city’s electric buses using a rooftop PV system on the bus depot, exploring a new model of direct recharging zero emission vehicles.

In order to run electric buses on renewable energy and achieve 100% emission free transport, Shanghai has set up the very first solar power project for bus depot in the PRC. The 195 kW rooftop PV system is providing enough energy to recharge 6 buses at the same time, and the expected annual power generation is up to 20 MWh. The system also provides energy for other purposes at the facility and even feeds electricity back to the grid. Covering nearly 2,000 m2 , the solar panels have also improved the heat insulation of the roof.


Since 2013, the local bus company has introduced 70 pure electric buses into operation, providing citizens with clean, green mobility. Each electric bus typically travels between 100 and 120 kilometers a day, consuming 220 to 230 kWh. The solar power installation will not only benefit the environment, but will also bring economic benefits for the bus company through reduced electricity costs.

The installed rooftop PV system can recharge 6 of the 70 electric buses at the same time and provide electricity for other purposes at the bus depot.

The Challenge

Shanghai’s 18,000 diesel powered buses consume a huge amount of en- ergy, and emit many harmful toxins, bringing high social, environmental and economic costs. Harnessing the power of the sun through photovol- taics can provide cheap and clean electricity to charge electric buses, promoting renewable energy and reducing air pollution.


Economic Distributed PV generates 20 MWh of green power per year, which accord- ing to the current electricity tariff in Shanghai will save the bus company CNY 170,000 annually.

Environment  Using solar power to generate energy, substituting fossil fuels, will reduce 6 tons of oxynitride and 160 carbon dioxide emissions.

Health Using solar energy to power electric buses reduces vehicle emissions, urban haze, and air pollution, bringing many benefits to human health.