Saturday, August 23, 2008

Solar Freeways

Solar power is being used to power the lights on freeways in Oregon and it appears to be a pretty good idea—though still very expensive—according to this news story from the Harvard Government Innovators Network.

An excerpt.

“In an attempt to spur the spread of solar power, the Oregon Department of Transportation on Thursday unveiled the nation's first solar panel project on a major U.S. highway.

“At the interchange of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 near Tualatin, a row of solar panels about 5 feet wide and two football fields long will start generating electricity by the end of the year.

“The panels will feed electricity directly to PGE's systemwide grid and account for 28 percent of the energy needed to power lights that illuminate the highway's sweeping interchange at night.

“Oregon's deal with Portland General Electric will give the utility its first ownership stake in a solar project and generate business for two new Oregon solar manufacturers. SolarWorld, a German company with operations in Hillsboro, will supply solar panels; and PV Powered, of Bend, will provide an inverter, an essential device.”