A Dutch research group wants to build bike paths and roads with photovoltaic panels embedded into the road surface for solar power generation.
TNO — a Dutch research group — proposes a prefabricated concrete block with photovoltaic cells built in, with a transparent coating to protect the delicate solar cells from traffic and the elements. These blocks — which they call “SolaRoad” — would be used on Dutch roads to create a huge clean power generating network.
Besides the prospect of creating ‘clean’ energy, one of their primary motivations they list to create these solar pavement blocks is to prevent “landscape pollution” because, you know, highways are such a beautiful part of our visual environment.
TNO wants to start with bike paths to gain experience in using solar power materials in a road bed. There’s significantly less red tape involved when dealing with experimental pavement material for bikes than with cars and trucks. There’s less wear and tear on bike paths as well.
TNO plans to pilot their solar paving blocks on a cycle path in Krommenie, North Holland in the summer of 2012. After they gain developmental experience, they plan to roll this out on the Dutch road and highway network after about 2015.