The Solar Roadway idea this week received a shot in the arm with the Netherlands opening the first solar roadway for testing. The 100 meter stretch of bike path in the suburbs of Amsterdam, Krommenie, has been upgraded from boring old sit there and do nothing bitumen to becoming the power station of the future. Welcome to the world’s first solar roadway, enjoy your journey.
The road itself was constructed off site and the cement prefab modules laid into place on its foundation. Once locked together the complete road is ready to start generating electricity. The new roads surface consists of photovoltaic cells covered in a rugged and heavily textured hardened glass. The texturing should ensure a non slip surface all year round, even during a wet European winter.
Even though it is only a small section of bike path and with only one lane containing solar cells the path is able to generate enough electricity to power three homes. The test solar road will be in place for three years and monitored for wear and tear, power production and usability. Hopefully this is only the first and more people will get on board with the solar roadway idea.
Here at Highpants we believe that all of the internet commentators out there that ridiculed Solar Roadways should suck it (you know who you are, stick in the mud comes to mind), solar roadways are go! To be fair most were correct when they said the technology presented earlier this year was too expensive, making it unfeasible, this is true. But that doesn’t mean the idea is ridiculous it just means much work needs to be done to get the price down. In order to test various strategies many more tests such as Amsterdam’s bike path are needed; How well would low cost organic solar cells work in this situation? Can cheaper plastics be used in place of glass? This approach deserves more serious attention simply for the fact that the rewards if it works are enormous, cheap zero emission power generated where we need it.