SolaRoad – Harvesting Solar Energy on Roads
SolaRoad is a pioneering innovation in the field of solar energy harvesting. It is a unique concept, which converts sunlight on the road surface into electricity: the road network works as an inexhaustible source of green power.
The idea behind SolaRoad is simple: sunlight falling on the road surface is absorbed by solar cells and converted into electricity – the road surface acts as a large solar panel. The electricity generated in this way will find practical applications in street lighting.
SolaRoad is being developed as prefabricated slabs. It consists of concrete modules of 2.5 by 3.5 meters with a translucent top layer of tempered glass, which is about 1 cm thick. Underneath the glass are crystalline silicon solar cells. The top layer immediately shows an important difference from the traditional road surface. It has to be translucent for sunlight and repel dirt as much as possible. At the same time, the top layer must be skid resistant and strong enough in order to realize a safe road surface. This is one of the technical challenges of SolaRoad.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our roads act like solar panels? And if we could drive our vehicles with the solar power generated by this? In 2009, these questions formed the beginning of a vision for the future: the large-scale generation of renewable energy with the sunlight that falls on 450 km2 road surface every day. In 2009, TNO was present on the innovation-estafette with an open invitation: ‘Dream it and join in’.
The Province of Noord-Holland, road construction company Ooms Civiel and technical service provider Dynniq accepted the invitation and now form – together with TNO – the core consortium that is developing SolaRoad: the first road surface that absorbs sunlight and converts it into electricity. The ultimate goal is the realization of the dream that large parts of the road surface in the Netherlands will act as a large solar energy harvesting panel. The generated electricity can be used for street lighting, traffic systems, households and electric vehicles.
SolaRoad posts news updates here.
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