In the search for a solar solution to power our cities, one of our biggest obstacles is the massive acreage required by conventional arrays. Photovoltaic panels are flat and expansive, and urban centers are at a serious loss for free space. Now Australian renewable energy retailer Going Solar has conceived of a clever strategy that infuses urban transit systems with energy producing potential – install solar panels in highways as sound barriers!
Going Solar‘s first highway installation was completed on the Tullamarine Calder Interchange in Australia. The solar sound barrier comprises 500 meters of photovoltaic panels that are attached to a public display showing the project’s power output. As the highway is located near some residential areas, energy doesn’t have to travel far to reach its destination, and the massive solar panels provide much needed soundproofing to the houses nearby.
It is expected that the installation will produce 18.7 megawatts per year, which is enough to cover its cost in about 15 years. The innovative application has netted Going Solar the ATRAA‘s award for best grid-connected system