Transportation Electrification: How to Make Your Hub More Sustainable

The transportation industry is responsible for 29% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions — more than any other sector. Public pressure mixed with demands from investors are leading airports, parking facilities, logistics providers, and others to take steps to reduce their carbon footprints.  

While becoming more sustainable is attractive to decision makers, many struggle with the specifics of how to cut emissions while managing costs. Employing sustainable building practices and making HVAC and lighting systems more energy efficient are great places to start, but adopting onsite clean energy is a surefire way to accelerate sustainability.

Let’s look at some tried-and-true solutions, real-world examples of them in action, and strategies for making projects more affordable.

Clean Energy Solutions for Transportation Hubs

There are three essential types of clean technology (cleantech) that help the transportation industry set and meet green goals. They can be installed as standalone assets or combined with others to maximize results.

1. Electric Vehicle Charging

The lowest hanging fruit for transportation hubs looking to embrace sustainability is the installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargers that visitors and employees can use to replenish their EVs while parked on site. Airports with short- and long-term parking, garages and lots in busy city business districts, and any other kind of hub with spaces for cars or light-duty vehicles can all benefit from installing EV charging stations.  

Options are available to accommodate different drivers' needs: Level 2 chargers are ideal for drivers who plan to remain parked for a while. Level 3 (DC Fast) chargers provide quicker charging for drivers who are in a hurry. (Learn more about the different types of EV chargers).

2. Fleet EV Charging

Hubs like bus depots and last-mile delivery facilities that maintain a fleet of vehicles to carry out their operations can significantly reduce their emissions by going electric. (And as the auto industry transitions away from gas-powered vehicles, companies soon will have little choice in the matter.)  

It is critical for companies with electrified fleets to implement dependable charging options to ensure vehicles are charged and ready to complete their routes. Equally important, companies should work with an EV charging provider that can intelligently manage fleet charging.  

3. Solar and Energy Storage

Transportation hubs that install solar panels at their facilities can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by leveraging clean solar energy to power their operations. When combined with onsite EV chargers, companies can ensure they are powering those chargers with “green electrons” and not fossil fuel energy drawn from the utility grid.

In addition to making transportation hubs more sustainable, a solar energy system saves money by reducing overall energy costs and produces quick return on investment — helping win the approval of internal stakeholders. Companies can maximize financial benefits by pairing solar with a battery energy storage system that extends solar energy usage to later in the day.    

Sustainable Transportation Examples

PowerFlex has helped many companies in the transportation sector make good on their sustainability commitments with cleantech. Here are some standout projects:  

Los Angeles International Airport

In pursuit of a 2045 net-zero carbon emissions goal, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) tapped PowerFlex to install more than 1,200 EV chargers in a newly constructed 1.7-million-square-foot economy parking structure. The Level 2 chargers leverage patented Adaptive Load Management® algorithms to intelligently manage charging demand — keeping costs down for LAX by eliminating power spikes that can trigger expensive demand charges from the utility.


PowerFlex helped DHL get closer to its goal of eliminating carbon emissions from its operations by 2050 with a far-reaching EV charging initiative that installed more than 550 chargers at DHL facilities across the United States. The chargers are equipped with the PowerFlex X™ adaptive intelligent energy management platform that monitors, tracks, and reports on charging activities while integrating with DHL’s telematics.

Signature Flight Support

Aviation is a large contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Signature Flight Support, the world’s largest network of fixed based operations for business and private aviation, partnered with PowerFlex to install solar energy systems at over a dozen locations to mitigate its environmental impact. PowerFlex worked with authorities including the FAA to ensure the systems complied with strict aviation regulations and completed each installation without disrupting Signature Flight’s around-the-clock operations.

Policies & Incentives for Transportation Hubs

The perceived cost of installing cleantech projects can sometimes be an internal barrier to getting projects off the ground. But there are many incentives available that can reduce installation costs, bolstered by favorable state and federal policies. Here are just a few highlights:

  • On the federal level, the Investment Tax Credit provides a dollar-for-dollar income tax reduction for owners of qualifying solar and storage systems. The ITC includes “adders” that grant additional tax savings for certain projects, like those sited in low-income communities.
  • In California, the Communities in Charge incentive program provides rebates on Level 2 chargers while the Golden State Priority Project applies to DC Fast Charger installations. Both programs are expected to reopen later in 2024.
  • New York offers the NYSERDA Charge Ready 2.0 program, which awards funds for EV charging hardware. Joint utilities around the state like ConEd, National Grid, and others provide rebate programs for infrastructure like electric panels and step-up transformers.
  • Massachusetts’ MassEVIP program features a rolling application window and provides incentives for multiple types of charging use cases, including fleets.
  • The Charge Ahead Colorado program incentivizes both Level 2 and DC Fast Charger installations in the Centennial State. Colorado Fleet ZERO provides funds for fleet charging and begins accepting applications again in Spring 2024.

For more information about incentives in your area, be sure to check out our policy & incentives database. And to learn more about how clean energy can benefit your transportation hub, contact us at PowerFlex. Our seasoned experts can advise you on a strategy that will not only take your sustainability efforts to the next level but generate financial benefits in the process.