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9/11/2023 MEDIA ADVISORY: Special House Commission will explore possibility of building solar panels on highway medians
STATE HOUSE — The inaugural meeting of a special House commission to study the feasibility of placing solar panels on interstate highways will take place Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.

Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) has appointed Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51), whose resolution creating the commission was adopted by the House of Representatives, to serve on the commission along with Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence) and Rep. Matthew S. Dawson (D- Dist. 65, East Providence).

Rounding out the commission will be Robert Rocchio of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, James Wilusz of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Todd Bianco of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, and Shauna Beland of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.

The commission will be tasked with determining the feasibility of placing solar panels on Interstate highways, RI-Route 146, carports at state parking lots, and other locations.

“There’s an awful lot of real estate running along our highways that could be used for the creation of renewable energy,” said Representative Phillips. “This commission will assess the potential for installing those panels, and mapping this potential will help the General Assembly to make well-informed and confident decisions about renewable energy. This is especially important as new technology brings increased infrastructure demands of our roadways.”

In making those determinations, the commission will seek placements that would provide and generate maximum returns on the investment as well as producing substantial amounts of energy. The panel will report back to the House of Representatives by April 11, 2024.

The meeting will be televised live by Capitol Television, which can be seen by Cox Communications subscribers on channels 15 and 61 for high definition, on channel 15 by i3Broadband viewers, and channel 34 for Verizon subscribers. Livestreaming will be available at

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903