In 2019, The Ray, in partnership with Georgia Power and the Georgia Department of Transportation, launched the Southeast’s first right-of-way (ROW) solar project. This technology not only harnesses the power of clean renewable energy, it provides better use for open ROW at interstate exits and utilizes the ground under solar panels for pollinator-friendly, wildflower habitat. While we often strive for the triple bottom line, pollinator-friendly ROW solar projects can simultaneously deliver benefits to three different sectors: transportation, energy and agriculture.
Now, to advance more of these projects, The Ray has partnered with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas, Austin to create the nation’s first-ever roadside solar mapping tool! Most states have more than 200 miles of empty, cleared ROW - at interstate exits alone - that is suitable for solar development. These areas are the low-hanging fruit on our national interstate system and using them for solar development could generate approximately $4 billion in economic value per year, and generate up to 36 terawatt-hours (TWh/year) of clean energy. That’s enough energy to power more than 12 million passenger EVs a year!
By 2030, 18.7 million EVs are expected to be on the roads in the U.S. We now know that the empty interstate roadsides can be leveraged to generate massive clean energy resources, which we can directly connect to power EV-charging depots at the same exit areas, where they are accessible and convenient to medium and heavy-duty trucks. To learn more, head first to the full press release here, and then find the national solar mapping tool here.