States test drive turning medians into energy sources

A Georgia-based nonprofit identified 52,000 acres of land at interstate exits that could accommodate solar panels.
A solar farm is seen west of Rio Rancho, N.M., on June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

An experiment that began in Oregon 15 years ago is gaining steam as more states consider placing solar arrays alongside roadways to generate revenue, strengthen the electrical grid and make use of otherwise unproductive land.

This year, California lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation to require the Department of Transportation to evaluate using highway rights-of-way for energy generation, storage, transmission and distribution facilities. A special commission in Rhode Island is studying the feasibility of placing solar panels along interstate highways and elsewhere with the goal of reporting back to the legislature in April.

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