In the Netherlands, A 70-meter stretch of solar-powered roadway is set to open for the public on Nov. 12, 2014.
The road will be used primarily as a bike lane that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer.
According to Collective-evolution.com, the road, which cost 3 million Euros ($3.7 million) to build, 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.
Communting by bike is very common in the Netherland, especially in the areas around Amsterdam. It is expected that approximately 2,000 cyclists will use the solar road on an average day.
The road, which is named by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as SolaRoad, 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.
Since the path was built to follow a main road, it could not be adjusted to the position of the sun. This means that the panels will generate approximately 30% less energy than those placed on roofs. However, its creators expect to generate more energy as the path is extended.
While the Netherlands is the first country to open a solar road for public use, it is not the only one to consider the possibilities and benefits of have solar roads.
Two US engineers, Idaho couple Julie and Scott Brusaw, have been developing solar panelling units for road use since 2006. They call their project the Solar Roadways Project.
In 2009 the United States Federal Highway Administration gave the Solar Roadways project a contract to build the first ever Solar Road Panel prototype.
The Solar Roadways projects goes a step further than the Netherlands’s solar roads by integrating programable LEDs into the solar panels in order to achieve custom road signs, heating components to keep roads free of ice and snow, and specific kinds of corridors to store fiber optic and TV cables.
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.”
Watch this video to learn more about the Solar Roadways Project.
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