Dutch SolaRoad leads the way in clean power generation

A bike path in Krommenie, a town near Amsterdam in The Netherlands is raising hopes for an innovative approach to solar power generation and utilization.

Laid in November 2014, the 230-feet, solar panel-paved path named SolaRoad recently crossed the power generation milestone of 3,000 kWh, exceeding expectations of the developers.

Solar cells have been embedded in the bike path and covered with a layer of tempered glass. The electricity produced by the cells is evacuated by the electrical grid and used to power traffic lights, street lights, or households.

And SolaRoad has remained a popular bike path with more than 150,000 bikers using it.

The developers are expected now to go ahead with the extension of the road to 330 meters by 2016 and in due course use the energy generated by the road to charge electric vehicles, besides using it for other purposes.

The developers of the project have invested about $4 million for laying the 230-foot stretch of the path.

However, one big disadvantage the road has is that the solar panels embedded in the path cannot be angled toward the sun. Given that the solar panels are fixed they can’t get as much sunlight and generate as much electricity as standard rooftop solar panels.

Ajith Kumar S

editor@greentechlead.com