In addition to being one of the most bike-friendly places in Europe, the Netherlands is about to make their bike lanes even more green — by paving them with solar panels. The initiative is part of a larger plan to pave all of their roads with solar panels but the Dutch have elected to start the experiment with two-wheeled transportation lanes. The technologyis called SolaRoad and was developed by the Dutch firm TNO.
The actual make-up of the SolaRoad is a layer-cake of sturdiness and energy. They start with a layer of concrete, then place over that a centimeter of silicon solar cells and then finish it all off with a layer of strengthened glass. It is estimated that the Dutch road network is comprised of 85,000 miles of roadway with the potential for generating 54 kWh per square yard.
Each SolaRoad panel is comprised of a 1.5 yard by 2.5 yard layer cake — concrete, solar cells, thick glass — and the Dutch plan to start their installations next year in bike paths in the small town of Krommenie, which is near Amsterdam. TNO is working with the government on this pilot program and hopes to expand after testing the SolaRoad in Krommenie. The energy produced from the road can be hooked up to the grid and will be used to power streetlights, stoplights, businesses and homes.
Lead image by Massimo Catarinella