Solar panels for bus shelters: interview to the Electrical Systems Manager of TPER S.p.A.

Solar panels for bus shelters: interview to the Electrical Systems Manager of TPER S.p.A.


We interviewed Stefano Lazzari, Electrical Systems Manager at TPER S.p.A

TPER (Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia-Romagna) is a public transport company born from the merger of ATC, road transport company for Bologna and Ferrara, and FER, a regional railway company.

TPER shareholders are Regione Emilia-Romagna (46.13% of the shares), Comune di Bologna (30.11%), Città Metropolitana di Bologna (18.79%), Azienda Consorziale Trasporti ACT of Reggio Emilia (3.06%), Provincia di Ferrara (1.01%), Comune di Ferrara (0.65%), Ravenna Holding Spa and Provincia di Parma (0.04%).

What does TPER do and since when is it on the market?

TPER covers various segments of the transport sector, namely buses, trolleybuses and railway.

TPER manages public road transport in the area of Bologna (including Imola) and Ferrara and passenger transport in the regional railway sector, in partnership with Trenitalia. Furthermore, in the first few months of 2014, TPER became the reference shareholder of SETA, a company that provides on-road public transport in the areas of Modena, Reggio Emilia and Piacenza, and is a partner of START, which operates in the Romagna area.

The company was born at the end of the 1800s and today TPER ranks sixth in terms of turnover among passenger transport operators in Italy, with an annual production value of around 236 million euros and almost 3,000 employees. 

What are TPER's main strengths/corporate values?

The company has always been oriented towards three main goals, ambitious and strategic at the same time:

1. Efficiency in public transport, achieved by providing users with an optimal offer (which in our market translates into widespread presence and punctuality). We work every day to maximize the citizens satisfaction, as well as their perception of the Company;

2. Innovation, which means a constant effort to reduce emissions, in compliance with all regulations on this topic.

3. Attention to the budget: a balanced company management is always essential to maintain an economic/financial stability that allows constant growth. 

How many bus shelters are there in Bologna?

Just in Bologna, we have about 500 bus shelters, for which we directly manage ordinary and extraordinary maintenance activities.

We know that TPER is also very sensitive to green economy and environmental sustainability. How many shelters are now equipped with solar panels?

Currently there are about 30 shelters already equipped with solar panels; other installations will be carried on in the coming months. Solar panels are an optimal solution to provide night lighting: a very important theme for our company, as poor lighting, especially in peripheral areas of the city, would put citizens at risk and compromise their perception of safety: TPER has always been very sensitive about these topics. 

Why did you decide to use solar panels?

Certain areas can’t easily connect to the electric grid, that’s why photovoltaic modules are a great alternative to power up shelters. Moreover, this also has an "environmental" implication (and for a company that is sensitive to the green economy and eco-sustainability themes this is certainly important). By being cost effective and low maintenance this solution represent a winning strategy in terms of functionality, ecology and economy. 

Why did you choose Solbian and how did you hear about it?

Through an online research, we were looking for Italian companies that could install photovoltaic modules on our shelters, we came across various options, including Solbian. Although we didn't have any specific knowledge of Solbian, we decided to trust this Turin-based company, which immediately showed a professional and flexible approach, like its panels.

Almost 1 year after the first installations, can you say Solbian panels have been the right choice?

Absolutely yes! The experience was definitely positive, the goals we set were all achieved and new shelters in the future will be equipped with Solbian solar panels.

How would you rate your collaboration with Solbian from 1 to 10?

The experience so far has been very positive. Our collaboration dates back to only one year so I’d like to give it more time before expressing a final evalauation. I’m sure however that in the future it will be a ten!


Design: Tembo