Rhode Island officials say they're installing solar panels on several state buildings' roofs to harness energy and reduce electricity costs.

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources says $1.5 million for the work is coming from federal stimulus funds, and that they expect the panels to be installed by late February.

They are being installed at nine state beaches, parks and other sites in Narragansett, Westerly, Charlestown, North Kingstown, Exeter, Providence and South Kingstown.

Internet users will also be able to use an online tracking tool to monitor the electricity savings from some of the panels and wind turbines.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the panels will have a dual benefit: helping the state save energy costs and being an educational tool for students and others interested in environmental issues.