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SolaRoad goes California

31 Mar 2016

The Dutch energy concept, SolaRoad, is to be taken forward in California. On the 29th of March 2016, the Californian highways agency, Caltrans and the province of North Holland, signed a declaration of intent to look at sustainable options for capturing solar energy in transportation infrastructure. The proposed location is in Lebec, Kern County. This brings the dream of the road surface acting as one large solar panel a step closer.

SolaRoad is a groundbreaking innovation in the field of energy generation. The idea behind SolaRoad is simple: sunlight falling on the road surface is converted into electricity by concrete modules with solar cells and a translucent top layer of tempered glass. The generated electricity can be used for street lighting, traffic systems, electric vehicles and households. 

Solar cycle path

The Dutch concept SolaRoad is being developed by the province of North Holland, TNO, Ooms Civiel and Dynniq. The first SolaRoad project is a solar cycle path in Krommenie in North Holland, which was opened in November 2014 by Minister Kamp and Deputy Post. Three years of testing is taking place of how the cycle path will actually work in practice. The results are positive. During the first year, the 130 m² SolaRoad had already generated 9,800 kWh of energy: enough to provide a number of households with electricity for an entire year.  

Coast to Coast

To enable SolaRoad to undergo further development, more test sites are needed. As part of the cooperation programme ‘Coast to Coast’, for many years the Netherlands and California have been exchanging knowledge and experience about reducing carbon dioxide through sustainable transport and smart energy solutions. The Californian minister Rodriquez and state secretary Scott (Environment) became acquainted with SolaRoad during a working visit to the Netherlands and were immediately enthusiastic. The partners are now joining forces to also use the technology behind SolaRoad in the Californian road network.

If we want to ensure that climate change does not take on a really threatening form, then we have to take unorthodox measures according to  TNO’s Sten de Wit. A good example of this is SolaRoad, a road surface that generates energy.

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