Fort Worth Bike Sharing receives $35,000 donation to add solar panels to bike sharing stations

By Joey McReynolds

After a week of cloudy weather, the sun finally broke through Thursday to highlight the $35,000 donation to Fort Worth Bike Sharing that will build solar panels across the city.
The solar panels will power kiosks at nine new, and one existing, bike sharing stations throughout Fort Worth. The solar panels are part of the group’s mission to provide “an affordable, efficient, environmentally-friendly bike share program,” according to a press release.
The donation comes from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, which aims to promote sustainable nonprofits across the state of Texas, said Tony Napolillo, the program manager for Green Mountain Energy.
Fort Worth Bike Sharing applied for a grant from the club last year. Napolillo said they receive about 200 applications each year and give out about 10-15 grants.
“It was an easy choice,” Napolillo said. “There’s no-brainers in these applications, and this was a no-brainer.”
The donation also marked the first meeting in a new partnership between Fort Worth Bike Sharing and Green Mountain Energy. The energy company focuses on providing sustainable, renewable energy to customers and is “dedicated to 100 percent pollution free energy,” Napolillo said.
“They’re bringing green commuting to Fort Worth, they’re making it more accessible,” he said. “That’s good for the environment, it fits with our mission and it’s helping promote solar. It’s a perfect fit.”
Mike Brennan, chairman of the board of the directors for Fort Worth Bike Sharing, said sponsorships like the one from Green Mountain are vital to the existence and growth of the bike sharing program.
“The partnerships with private sponsors and community organizations are really critical,” Brennan said. “Bike sharing is a form of public transportation. There are no public transportation systems that fully pay for themselves.”
He also said the partnership works well because both groups share similar goals when it comes to promoting sustainability.
“What’s great about the bike sharing program, and cycling in general, is that it meets so many goals,” Brennan said. “Just getting out and riding a bike is fun and also healthy, it’s pollution free, cuts down on traffic, [and] all of those goals work towards better quality of life and a better city.”