Solar panels in roads

Solar panels in roads

The idea behind SolaRoad is simple: sunlight falling on the road surface is captured by solar cells and converted into electricity – the road surface as a large solar panel. The electricity generated in this way finds practical applications in road lighting, traffic installations, electric cars (which drive over it) and households.

SolaRoad is initially an idea and initiative of TNO. At an early stage, the other consortium parties joined in: the Province of North Holland, Dynniq and Strukton Civiel. Within the SolaRoad Consortium, the choice has been made for a composition of partners in which the market, knowledge institutes and government (the so-called golden triangle) can together achieve a socially desirable innovation. Strukton Civiel will not only contribute its knowledge and skills in the field of design, construction and management of infrastructure, but also its expertise in the field of prefab construction techniques and assembly. The idea is that, in due course, the market parties will independently develop a suitable, healthy business model for integrating solar panels into roads.

Development trajectory of solar panels in roads

SolaRoad is being developed step by step. After a techno-economic feasibility study, a first prototype was developed in 2010 and extensively tested in the laboratory. The results of these solar panels on the road raised questions and revealed development points, but at the same time were so promising that in 2011 it was decided to develop SolaRoad further.

A first milestone is the SolaRoad cycle path near Krommenie by the N203 as a pilot. In October 2104 70 meters of SolaRoad was realized here. The path was opened on 12 November 2014 by Minister Henk Kamp and delegate Elisabeth Post. Ooms Construction constructed the bicycle path.

Early next year, SolaRoad will lay a solar road surface on the bus lane along the Groene Kruisweg in Spijkenisse for the province of South Holland. This is one of the tests to see if SolaRoad can also be applied to heavy traffic. Spurred on by this project, entrepreneurs from the adjacent Halfweg-Molenwatering business park and the municipality of Nissewaard have decided to make the entire area energy neutral at an accelerated pace.

Sustainable business park with solar panels in the road

In the project ‘Sustainable Innovative Mobility Energy HUB Nissewaard’ entrepreneurs, government and education are working together to realize, among other things, a solar road surface, decentralized energy storage and a boarding and charging facility for sustainable transport. The companies along the bus lane also see all kinds of possibilities for making better use of the existing bus stop as a gateway to their businesses. Facilities for transferring bus passengers can then also be offered in the context of last mile accessibility.

Simultaneously with the development of the bicycle path, there are knowledge development projects on specific components and laboratory and field tests. During the project, alternative options for both the solar cells and the glass will be investigated. If new developments in the field of solar panels present themselves during the project, they will be incorporated.

Meanwhile the SolaRoad Kit is available, based on the concept of SolaRoad in Krommenie. A 10 meter long, electricity generating road surface with solar panels. Ideal for a business park, access road, yard or square. The SolaRoad Kit is good for 3500 kWh per year, the annual consumption of an average household.