In November 2014, PVBuzz reported on the construction of the worlds first Solar-Powered Bike Lane — SolarRoad. We also reported on another project that involved bike paths with glow-in-the-dark technology and solar-powered LED lights in the Netherlands.
A recent report from Al Jazeera provides an update that the Dutch solar road now makes enough energy to power households, adding that they are working better than expected.
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The 70-metre test track has generated 3,000kwh of electricity in its first six months – enough to power a single-person household for a year. In the above video, Al Jazeera’s Tarek Bazley was in the Netherlands when the track was installed and provides the above report.
Background: Five years of research
The research group spent the last five years developing the technology but during the first six months of the trial a small section of a coating, designed to give grip to the smooth glass surface without blocking the sun, delaminated.
This was due to temperature fluctuations causing the coating to shrink. The team are now working on an improved version of the coating. More than 150,000 cyclists have ridden over the panels so far.
“We made a set of coatings, which are robust enough to deal with the traffic loads but also give traction to the vehicles passing by,” said Stan Klerks, a scientist at Dutch research group TNO.
He said the slabs also had to “transfer as much light as possible on to the solar cells so the solar cells can do their work”.
The group behind the project are now in talks with local councils in the Netherlands to see if the technology can be rolled out in other provinces. A cooperation agreement has also been signed with the US State of California.
“Solar panels on roofs are designed to have a lifetime, which is typically 20/25 years,” said de Wit.
“This is the type of lifetime that we also want for these types of slabs. If you have a payback time of 15 years then afterwards you also have some payback of the road itself so that makes the road cheaper in the end.”