ODOT lights way for Ohio’s ‘Solar Highways’ of the Future
Study project in Toledo could save tax dollars and help the environment
BOWLING GREEN (Monday, April 12, 2010) - Harnessing the state’s emerging expertise in solar energy in Northwest Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is partnering with the University of Toledo (UT) to create the state’s first "solar highway" of the future.
Using federal funds designated by Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, ODOT will invest $1.5 million to install and study a solar array within highway right of way along Interstate 280 near the Veterans' Glass City Skyway.
In addition to employing university researchers, this innovative energy project will use solar products supplied by companies located in Northwest Ohio.
"It’s a win, win for all involved," explained ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. "This study project not only supports a growing industry in Ohio, but it also identifies new ways for ODOT to reduce energy consumption and potentially save tax dollars by trimming our electric bill."
"The Veterans’ Glass City Skyway is our civic cathedral here in the solar capital of the Midwest," said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. "With leading edge technology, the Skyway will help light the way to a new and brighter future for our regional economy."
Once the solar panels are installed this summer, the energy collected will be used to assist in powering the impressive lighting system on the Skyway into downtown Toledo.
For the next two years, The University of Toledo will conduct research on the energy produced by the photovoltaic cells in the array and the practical construction and maintenance - including the savings that can be generated - as ODOT considers future "solar highways" across the state.
"This project is a great example of the expertise The University of Toledo and the UT Transportation Center can bring to the table as solar and alternative energy are increasingly integrated into transportation systems across the state and the nation," said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. "The Ohio Department of Transportation is displaying tremendous leadership and we're proud to partner with them."
Installation will begin late this spring along I-280 south of Central Avenue and west of Galena Street, creating an ideal south-facing position for the solar panels. The solar array is expected to begin generating electricity by the end of this Summer.
A media conference for the project will be held on Tuesday, April 13 at 10 a.m. at the Marine Passenger Terminal, 1701 Front Street, Toledo, Ohio.
For more information contact:
Theresa Pollick, ODOT District Two Communications Office, (419) 373-4428
Steve Fought, Ohio Office, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (419) 259-7500
Richard Martinko, P.E., University of Toledo, (419) 530-2541