A bike path that connects two Amsterdam suburbs, that is currently used by around 2,000 commuters per day, has been reopened as the world’s first public road with embedded solar panels. Costing around $4.8 million (NZD), and funded mostly by the local council, the road is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, encased with concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass.
A non-adhesive finish and a slight tilt in the cycle path help the rain wash off dirt to keep the surface clean, guaranteeing maximum exposure to sunlight. Unlike panels that are installed on a roof that are able to be adjusted to the position of the sun, the path is fixed, meaning that the path generates about 30% less energy than panels installed on roof.
Developers of the concept are hoping that more roading can be adapted to include this new type of solar generation. If it were to be rolled out on a wider scale the paving is capable of handling heavy vehicles such as tractors.
Since installment, community groups around the world have latched onto the idea. A group in America have already raised $2.2 million dollars to implement a similar idea with the underriding philosophy that if all the roads in America were converted to solar roadways the country would generate three times as much energy as it currently uses and cut greenhouse gases by 75%.