Amsterdam Solar Roadway Performs Beyond Expectations

Everywhere we look today, there is something being developed to help the world be more sustainable. Sustainable technologies have been taken to the next level with so many things going electric or becoming more energy-efficient in order to meet the world’s energy requirements without putting any more stress on the fossil fuels.

Adding to the large collection of sustainable projects, including smart homes and smart cars, is the SolaRoad, a 70-meter long pathway for both pedestrians and cyclists that is studded with solar panels to generate electricity as it is being used for daily pedestrian and bicycle commutes. This pathway, located is Amsterdam, has proven its worth and is performing beyond the expectations initially set for it.

A Concrete Path that Generates Electricity

SolaRoad was constructed in November of last year, with the hope to innovate the way we think about sustainable energy and transportation. It is located in a village called Krommenie, near Amsterdam, and has been in use for about six months now.

The path is predominantly concrete. The interesting part about it is the addition of silicon solar panels throughout which are protected by safety glass that is a centimeter in thickness. The glass was specially chosen for its anti-skid properties so that it could be used on a daily basis by cyclists and pedestrians alike. The roadway has performed beyond expectations and the energy produced by the solar rays is sent directly into the electric grid of the city.

More Energy than was Hoped For

This was an innovative project that was supposed to yield satisfactory results. However, it has surpassed those expectations and produced 3,000 kilowatt-hours more than what was expected of it.

In the six months of its use, the SolaRoad has produced enough energy that can help power a single-person home for an entire year. Breaking it down to sheer numbers, that is electricity of more than 70kW per year being produced by every square meter of the roadway. This number was the ‘upper limit’ of the expectations in the early developmental stages of the design.

Maintenance Required for the Glass

Seeing that the pathway has been used by over 150,000 cyclists during the period of its operation, it is easy to understand why the glass’ top layer has started to peel off. This has kick-started a new project to develop a glass that is better suited to everyday abuse and accounts for temperature fluctuations.

Opening Doors to the Future

The immense success of SolaRoad has led to similar projects around the globe, the dominant one of which is named Solar Roadways being designed in Idaho. This is a project that seeks to replace conventional roadways with solar panels.

The sheer amount of energy being produced by SolaRoad has opened many doors into the future of sustainable development. Imagine a world where every pathway and roadway is studded with solar panels, with each neighborhood generating enough energy to power itself. There would be no need for the burning of fossil fuels in such an ideal world, and the way Amsterdam’s solar roadway has performed may just help us go beyond our expectations when it comes to sustainable design.

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