Solar road a resounding success

A Dutch solar bike path is generating more power than expected in its first six months. SolaRoad has produced more than 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power a single-person household for one year.

The 70-metre-long road was installed in November 2014 in Krommenie, a village northwest of Amsterdam. It is made of concrete slabs embedded with ordinary solar panels. According to a CBC article, the solar panels are protected by a layer of transparent, skid-resistant glass that can support bicycles and vehicles.

Since installed, the bike path is exceeding even the company’s expectations.

“We did not expect a yield as high as this so quickly,” said Sten de Wit, spokesman for the public-private partnership project, in a statement.

Based on the current results, the bike path is expected to generate more than 70 kilowatt hours per square metre per year, reports CBC. This is close to the upper limit calculated by lab tests.

Company engineers have also spent the first six months improving the path’s design. For instance, temperature fluctuations caused the glass coating to shrink and parts peeled off in early winter and early spring. Engineers are reportedly in the “advanced stage” of developing an improved top layer, explains the article.

More than 150,000 cyclists have ridden over the path and have told SolaRoad that they “hardly notice it is a special path”.


Photo credit: SolaRoad

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