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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Orange County commuters will soon find themselves on the sunny side of the street, as the county’s public toll-road agency has kicked off a solar program here that is expected to save thousands of dollars.

The agency is distributing 5,000 solar transponders to FasTrak customers who stop in at TCA’s Service Center in Irvine. These solar transponders will replace the battery-powered devices currently used as part of the FasTrak system for collecting tolls electronically.

“This is an innovative solution that takes free energy and thereby saves the agencies thousands of dollars in the long term,” says Third District County Supervisor Todd Spitzer.

Although the solar transponders cost the agency $9 more than the battery-powered devices, they are expected to last up to 11 years, or twice as long as their non-solar counterparts. The pilot program, which is the first of its kind, is expected to save the agency around $50,000 during the course of the next 10 years.

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