Cloverleafs are practically iconic to California, a state sected and bisected by throughways. The patches of undeveloped land between underpasses passes and overpasses, may have been envisioned as little gardens to brighten up your drive, but with no money to tend to the land, they are more likely to be a dumping ground for beer cans and other assorted detritus tossed out of cars speeding by. All of that is about to change.

Erik Hayden of Republic Cloverleaf Solar wants to lease the space from CalTrans and use it to install solar panels. The barren sections abutting the on-off ramps of the freeway could produce enough energy to power 3,000 homes in the South Bay Area, and that’s just from seven interchanges, stretching from Gilroy to San Jose. The power produced would be sold to PG&E.

The initial cost of the project is estimated to be $70 million, but it is already making progress. Negotiations are already underway to lease the land from CalTrans, and efforts are underway to win approval for an agreement with PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission. There is already seed money, and more is expected from Cloverleaf’s parent company, the Republic Family of Companies, once an agreement is reached. Then there is the 30 percent credit investment opportunity.

If all goes as planned, construction is expected to begin next year. Then those ugly patches along the freeway could become an invaluable part of making California cleaner and greener.
Read More at the Business Journal.