Solar energy is by no means a new technology but when you put the solar panels on the road; you cannot but marvel at this creative idea.
Yes, this is what a group in Netherlands has done. The TNO research institute in Netherlands developed a concept by which solar cells could be laid out on the road built by using prefabricated slabs and then covering with a tempered glass. The glass is very strong. In fact, if you drop steel balls onto it, nothing will happen. Heavy vehicles such as tractors have also been tested on it and it has been found that the glass can easily withstand the weight. The glass does not skid making for safe path too.
A cycle lane that connects suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer in Netherlands has been built using this concept. It is a busy cycle lane with over 2000 cyclists passing over it on a daily basis. The path is only a 70 meter stretch but the concept is slated to also be extended to roadways. This will make Netherlands harness solar energy through almost 20% of its roadways making for a significant contribution towards greener energy solution in the world.
It seems that the designers have thought of almost everything from not only making a power producing road but also ensuring that it stays clean. There is a tilt to the path which ensures rain water slips down easily and there is no dirt left on them. The clean paths also mean maximum exposure to the sun.
Such paths can be used to power many things whether they are electric cars or the traffic signal and while the idea is still in its nascent stages, it is a truly a wonderful direction to a greener future.
While this cycle path is being hailed as a first in technological innovations, the truth is that a similar concept was also thought of by an Idaho couple in US who are engineers. In fact, they have also tested a small stretch of such solar pathways in their own parking lot. The couple Julie and Scott Brusaw also posted this video online and have managed to raise a whopping $2.2m for putting their design into production!
Watched the video :
The US couple’s design also integrates LED lights and features that will help to melt ice or snow taking the concept a notch higher in innovative genius.
Imagine if all the US roadways could be converted into solar ones then greenhouses gases could be cut by 75%. Moreover, the nation would also be able to generate three times energy as it is doing now!