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Revolutionary solar bike path set to open in The Netherlands

Alia Parker's picture
The completed SolaRoad bike path, via Solaroad. Cycle Traveller

Construction of a revolutionary new solar bike path has been completed in The Netherlands, possibly paving the way for a much greener future.

Called SolaRoad, the technology turns roads and paths into large solar panels.

These sun traps are constructed of concrete modules that support solar panels covered by a top layer of tempered safety glass.

“The top layer must be skid resistant and strong enough in order to realise a safe road surface,” the company says.

Currently in a trial phase, the solar bike path is a world first, with a short 100 metre section now open to the public along the provincial road N203 near Krommenie. The path is set to officially open on November 12 .

SolaRoad says the energy generated by the roads can be used to power street lighting. However, with continued development, such roads may one day have the ability to conduct electricity straight into the vehicles travelling upon them, powering electric cars, it says.

A SolaRoad panel. Cycle Traveller

Following extensive laboratory testing since 2010, the company says the new solar bike path will be safe and comfortable. It says the new technology is strong and capable of withstanding everyday cyclist and vehicle use.

The solar panels have also been tested for shock from falling objects and extreme weather situations.

While the company has its sights set high on one day deploying the solar panels throughout the road network, it is taking it one step at a time, starting with a real-life trial of the SolaRoad on a cycleway.

“A cycle path is more practical as a pilot site (than for example a highway) for various reasons,” SolaRoad says.

“A cycle path is less heavily loaded, because the means of transport that use it are lighter. It is also easier on a cycle path to make any possible adjustments and to implement improvements. This way, we can learn and develop faster.”

Images from top: 1. The completed SolaRoad bike path in The Netherlands. 2. A SolaRoad tile. Images via SolaRoad.

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go the dutchies!!

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