Pa. Turnpike jumping into solar power as it explores electrified road services for electric vehicles

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is jumping into solar energy production to power its maintenance and office buildings with a long-term goal: using solar-generated power to electrify portions of the toll road so electric vehicles can charge as they travel.

The agency is waiting for an occupancy permit to open a solar field at a maintenance facility and new regional trades headquarters along Turnpike Route 66 near Jeannette. That will be the first of a series of solar facilities planned across the state…

At the same time, Pennsylvania officials are working with the Ohio Turnpike and experts from special programs at Utah State University on a pilot project to electrify part of the highway. That is expected to begin with a demonstration project using a turnpike parking space as a charging station in the next 18 months, followed by electrifying part of the toll road system straddling the Ohio-Pennsylvania border so drivers can power up while they drive.