News

First SolaRoad element completed

16 July 2014

Last week saw the completion of the first life-size element for SolaRoad, a new road surface that can convert sunlight into electricity. Work on this unique and innovative product started in 2011, and people will be able to cycle on the first section of SolaRoad – with a length of some 100 metres – in November of this year. SolaRoad is a joint development by TNO, the Province of Noord-Holland, Imtech Traffic & Infra and Ooms Civiel, a Strukton Civiel business unit.

Bike path in Krommenie

In October, workers will be installing a stretch of some 100 metres of SolaRoad along a bike path in Krommenie. Over the next two years, this section will be used for a variety of tests. The tests are intended to answer questions like:

  • How does the road surface behave in practice?
  • How much power is generated?
  • What does it feel like to cycle across this surface?

In the run-up to its installation, the bike path will be tested in the lab to ensure it satisfies all safety and other requirements for public road surfaces.

What is SolaRoad?

The idea behind SolaRoad is quite simple: sunlight falling on the road is collected by solar cells and converted into electricity – in other words, the road is transformed into one big solar panel. The electricity generated through this process powers various practical applications, including street lighting, traffic systems, electrical cars (actually driving on the SolaRoad) and households. It forms an innovative step towards an energy-neutral mobility system.
 

SolaRoad

SolaRoad consists of concrete modules measuring 2.5 by 3.5 metres, half of which (i.e. a road section going in one direction) is covered by a 1-cm thick top layer of hardened transparent glass. This glass layer covers an array of monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic cells. The top layer is distinctly different from a traditional road surface. After all, it has been designed to let through as much sunlight as possible and simultaneously reject soiling. At the same time, the top layer needs to be rough and strong enough to guarantee a safe road surface.

“SolaRoad needs to satisfy all the requirements set for a road surface, generate sufficient energy and still remain an attractive option from a financial point of view. From the outset, we knew one thing for sure: if we intend to realise this project, we need to get multiple parties involved: road authorities, road construction firms, industrial players. The present consortium, in which each member contributes its own specific knowledge and experience, is the product of a joint ambition to realise this ‘solar surface’. This is a special approach that has proven highly successful. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the first step towards a future in which SolaRoads are the most common sight in the world. ”

Sten de Wit, SolaRoad spokesperson

 
For more information, feel free to visit the SolaRoad website
 
This is a joint press release issued by TNO, the Province of Noord-Holland, Imtech Traffic & Infra and Ooms Civiel, a Strukton Civiel business unit.