FDOT District 1 Interstate 75 rest area solar assessment

Project Summary

Hanson provided engineering services for alternative energy sources at highway rest areas throughout Florida. As a subconsultant to Wantman Group Inc., Hanson evaluated the feasibility of using solar panels as a source of renewable energy at two new rest areas in the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 1, off Interstate 75 in Charlotte County. Hanson approached the project in two phases — first, a pre-assessment study to determine the feasibility of solar panels on the site, then an in-depth analysis and assessment of solar panels to provide renewable energy on-site, with attention to assessing multiple load scenarios and options including battery backup.

The pre-assessment phase included a review of similar facilities’ design drawings for required site electrical loads, basic solar panel sizing and modeling, basic solar panel return on investment numbers and a pre-assessment draft study.

The assessment phase involved obtaining copies of the previous 36 months of utility bills from similar sites for the determination of solar panel sizing; reviewing and assessing the feasibility of battery backup for the proposed solar panel system, as well as potential locations for the panels; coordinating the local Authority Having Jurisdiction regarding permits required for construction, as well as with the utility provider regarding available rebates; preparing a one-line diagram of the proposed electrical system to accompany the solar panel backup; and preparing an opinion of probable construction cost estimates and a final study report.

Hanson also conducted an in-depth solar paneling modeling analysis for two possible scenarios: using the solar panels to provide renewable energy to the main building and lift station or to the entire site, including the main building, outbuildings, lift station and site lighting.