The world’s first solar bike lane is soon to be available for use in the Netherlands! The bike path that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer is a 70-meter stretch of solar-powered roadway set to open for the public on November 12th, 2014.
The new solar road, which costs €3m (AUD$4.3m), was created as the first step in a project that the local government hopes will see the path being extended to 100 metres by 2016.
More complimentary plans are also on the table as the country intends to power everything from traffic lights to electric cars using solar panels.
School children and commuters see the bike road as very useful and a cool part of their daily commute, with approximately 2,000 cyclists expected to use it on an average day.
The road, which is named by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as SolaRoad, is set to open in the next week. It is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, which were embedded into the concrete of the path and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass.
Science Alert reported:
“The surface of the road has been treated with a special non-adhesive coating, and the road itself was built to sit at a slight tilt in an effort to keep dust and dirt from accumulating and obscuring the solar cells.”
Since the path cannot be adjusted to the position of the sun, the panels will generate approximately 30% less energy than those placed on roofs. However, the road is tilted slightly to aid water run-off and achieve a better angle to the sun and its creators expect to generate more energy as the path is extended to 100 metres in 2016.
Actually, SolaRoad is not the first project aimed at turning roads and pathways into energy-harvesting surfaces. Solar Roadways are another major project. The following video was posted online less than year ago, getting over $2.2 million to start the production.
The Guardian reported:
“If all the roads in the US were converted to solar roadways, the Solar Roadways website claims, the country would generate three times as much energy as it currently uses and cut greenhouse gases by 75 percent.”
But the difference between the two projects is that Solar Roadways are working to integrate programmable LEDs in order to achieve custom road signs, heating components to drive away ice and snow, and specific kind of corridors to store fiber optic and TV cables.