The SolaRoad project kicked off back in 2009 by Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) when it lead a team of Road construction and Technical Services providers to ascertain the Holland roads’ potential for solar energy. The conclusion stated that 140,000 Km length of roads in Holland provided 400-500 sq. km of surface area that can be employed for solar power.
Owing to this conclusion, work began on the project 5 years ago and now, the team is ready to open the first solar-powered path for bikes next Wednesday. It shall run in Amsterdam – a northern suburb of Krommenie and shall consist of concrete slabs that will be incorporated with solar panels to allow for the conversion of solar energy into electricity that shall be transported back to the grid.
The path measures in at 70 meters and shall consist of concrete slabs, pre-fabricated, that measure in at 2.5 x 3.5 meters while featuring a layer of silicone that is crystalline and a protection of 0.4-inch layer of tempered glass located on the top. The glass is translucent to allow for passage of sunlight while being strong enough to withstand the impacts and harsh weather.
The team will observe and monitor this path for the next 3 years to find out how much energy can be practically created from this approach while also ascertaining the safety of the road in variable weather conditions. Team speculates that the energy created by the system shall one day be able to run the traffic systems, street lights, homes and even electric cars. The team also has plans of extending the path to a 100 meter overall length, which the team claims shall be able to generate enough power to sustain 2-3 homes.
SolaRoad is focusing on coming up with maximum solar efficiency on a small scale before going big. This will allow them to save a lot of effort and money when then carry out future development along this road (figuratively).