State DOTs could earn revenue from solar arrays

(Above photo by the Bureau of Land Management)

There is great uncertainty for state agencies in the upcoming year as finances are battered by the current recession. It is unclear whether there will be meaningful support from the federal government. As states decide what programs to cut, it is likely that capital improvement projects will be on the chopping block. A new study conducted by The Ray and the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas-Austin indicates that state departments of transportation (DOT) could generate roughly $4 billion in “economic value” by establishing solar energy arrays in highway rights-of-way (ROW) locations.

The ability of state DOTs to generate clean energy on previously unused real estate could be a valuable source of revenue. The study authors are creating an interactive web-based tool to help state DOTs map out potential highway ROW locations for solar energy arrays. It makes sense for consulting firms to keep abreast of developments to propose creative solutions that could help with such projects.

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