Solar panel bike lanes

A Dutch research group wants to build bike paths and roads with photovoltaic panels embedded into the road surface for solar power generation.

TNO SolaRoad

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.

TNO SolaRoad prefab solar pavement

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.

Info from TNO.NL. Via Alt Transport.

13 Comments

  • February 4, 2011 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

    =v= This approach has been suggested before for roads (or variations like having panels on the bottoms of cars), but soot from exhaust has always been a deal-killer. It could work really well on bike paths. though!

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  • February 4, 2011 - 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Is it me or would that be incredibly slippery? Neat Idea though.

  • Andy
    February 4, 2011 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I know bikes don’t destroy roads the same, but solar needs light, and unless they plan to sweep the bike path constantly, there’s just going to be grit scraping all over the panels. I can’t wrap my head around how they plan to make this optically transparent enough to collect light after the first day.

  • February 4, 2011 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    We should have dual duty solar panels that shade sidewalks and or bike lanes. This will encourage more bikes and pedestrians and provide power. Installation could be more but maintenance may be less. You could angle the panels to help shed dust and dirt and water.

    Sunshade in the summer and rain protection in the winter.

  • February 4, 2011 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    We should have dual duty solar panels that shade sidewalks and or bike lanes. This will encourage more bikes and pedestrians and provide power. Installation could be more but maintenance may be less. You could angle the panels to help shed dust and dirt and water.

    Sunshade in the summer and rain protection in the winter.

  • February 4, 2011 - 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, the grime that collects on surfaces anywhere near a road is unbelievable.

  • February 4, 2011 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking the same thing. Did you see Google’s study on their PV panel performance before and after cleaning? For completely horizontal panels, cleaning doubled the performance of the solar panels.

  • February 4, 2011 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking the same thing. Did you see Google’s study on their PV panel performance before and after cleaning? For completely horizontal panels, cleaning doubled the performance of the solar panels.

  • February 4, 2011 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I like this idea, and it seems angling to keep them clean is almost required. Putting solar panels on the ground — maybe not such a good idea?

  • February 4, 2011 - 11:14 pm | Permalink

    so how does this handle the snow? perhaps they should test somewhere where there is no snow like my house

  • February 5, 2011 - 12:17 am | Permalink

    I imagine snow and rain are handled poorly, so you’re right — they should install these in California.

  • February 6, 2011 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Interesting concept.

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