New USDOT drive for more roadside solar panels

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The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced its plan to modernize the US electric grid and utilize highway right-of-way (ROW) land to host transmission lines, build renewable energy projects, deploy broadband, and support electric vehicle charging.
The newly published guidance document “supports the consistent utilization of the ROW for renewable energy generation, electrical transmission and distribution projects, broadband projects, vegetation management, inductive charging in travel lanes, alternative fueling facilities, and other appropriate uses.”
It also encourages FHWA Division Offices to share the document with State DOTs for their consideration for these alternate uses of highway ROW.
The announcement from the Biden Adminstration, which was also backed by the Department of Energy, was hailed as a great step forward in the fight against climate change by Georgia’s sustainable mobility testbed The Ray.

Harriet Anderson Langford

“My father, Ray C Anderson, would be proud to see this program come to fruition,” says Harriet Anderson Langford, president and founder of The Ray. “Since our creation, The Ray has been inspired by the opportunity we saw in the underutilized land on our interstate roadsides. Our hope is by bringing ROW solar development forward, this program will be a catalyst for future projects that unlock the full potential of our ROW land. Like our solar megawatt on The Ray Highway, ROW solar projects also have the capability to repurpose the soil below as pollinator habitats for our bees and butterflies. Solar is only the beginning.”

“Through our partnerships with over half a dozen states, The Ray has brought ROW solar to the forefront of highway innovation,” said Laura Rogers, director of strategic partnerships for The Ray. “With these build-ready projects, State DOTs win on day one by optimizing underutilized land to generate clean renewable energy that benefits their communities, the environment and their budgets. Now, with the help of our solar mapping tool, we are ready to work alongside all 48 contiguous states to transform the thousands of acres of interstate roadside suitable for solar development.”
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About Author

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).