FHWA encourages ROW solar facilities

By Eric Sundquist

As DOTs look to meet environmental goals and bring in revenue, several have turned to using building roofs and surplus ROW to site solar-electric generating systems.

Leaders in this field include Oregon DOT and Massachusetts DOT.

Launching such a program, however, may put DOTs and FHWA partners on unfamiliar terrain. To help give practitioners a grounding in some of the issues they may encounter, FHWA has published a new online guide: Renewable Energy Generation in the Highway Right-of-Way.

According to the guide:

The ample lands DOTs manage are often close to electrical loads and have sometimes already been disturbed, potentially making these properties ideal locations for renewable energy applications.

Highway ROW renewable energy projects can:

  • Add value to ROW assets and create a revenue source for State DOTs to offset energy demand and operating costs.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions
  • Promote energy security by diversifying energy generation and delivery methods
  • Foster the creation of a local green job market that enhances the viability of the nation’s renewable energy industry

SSTI is planning a webinar for later this year to describe DOT experiences with ROW solar projects. To receive details when they are available, subscribe to our newsletter or check the events listing on www.ssti.us.

Eric Sundquist is Managing Director of SSTI.