Pennsylvania Turnpike Sees Brighter Interstate Commutes in Creation of Solar Field

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sunset over panels
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The Pa. Turnpike Commission plans for a solar field in the western part of the state to offer numerous advantages in sustainability.

The Pa. Turnpike Commission is making a move toward interstate transit sustainability. It plans a solar field — a grouping of photovoltaic solar panels— to power maintenance and office buildings in the short-term. Further out, it hopes to electrify parts of the toll road so electric vehicles can charge as they travel. Ed Blazina’s reporting skills shone in bringing this story to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The proposed site of the solar field is a maintenance facility and new regional trades headquarters along Turnpike Route 66 in the western part of the Commonwealth.

Moving forward with its construction now hinges on receipt of appropriate occupancy permits.

If approved, it will be the first of several solar facilities planned across the state.

The turnpike commission intends to take advantage of property it already owns to produce solar energy and sell extra capacity.

Turnpike officials are currently also working with Ohio Turnpike and Utah State University experts on a pilot project to electrify part of the highway.

They are expected to start with a demonstration project in the next 18 months that would use a turnpike parking space as a charging station.

The project then calls for the electrifying of part of the toll road system that straddles the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. The technology would then give drivers a chance to power up while they drive.

Read more about the Pa. Turnpike and its solar field plans in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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