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Use of Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems in Department of Transportation Facilities: A Review of Practice and Preliminary Assessment for Virginia Department of Transportation
ISSN: 2640-642X, e-ISSN: 2640-6438
Published January 28, 2022 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Bayrakci Boz, M., Donaldson, B., and Diefenderfer, B., "Use of Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems in Department of Transportation Facilities: A Review of Practice and Preliminary Assessment for Virginia Department of Transportation," SAE J. STEEP 3(2):101-114, 2022, https://doi.org/10.4271/13-03-02-0009.
Renewable energy sources provide an excellent opportunity for state departments of transportation (DOTs) to benefit from a dual use of land while providing flexible, resilient, affordable, and environmentally responsible modes of generation. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are particularly useful in this regard. This study presents a literature review on the types of solar project partnerships, application of solar PV systems by DOTs in the United States (U.S.), solar energy potential, energy policies, and incentives in Virginia. In addition, a feasibility assessment of installing solar PV systems at six (6) Virginia DOT (VDOT)-owned sites is presented. The review of the literature indicated that twenty state DOTs have implemented or are developing solar projects using their facilities. The feasibility assessment showed the benefits of installing solar PV systems at VDOT facilities. Energy production from the use of PV systems at these facilities was estimated to be between 49,926 kWh and 3,821 MWh, and the total expected savings was estimated to be $679,389 per year and $16,984,728 over the systems’ 25-year lifetime. The payback time ranges from approximately 6 to 13 years before considering any tax credits and incentives. Both the results of the literature review and the feasibility assessment for VDOT show that solar PV systems provide savings and can help agencies meet their renewable energy and environmental goals.