When we think of solar panels we imagine them on the roof of buildings or simply just high up in the air. We assume that the closer they are to the sky, the more sunlight it is receiving therefore producing more energy. What if this wasn’t the only way? The goal is to produce as much energy as possible without using harmful toxins. Not only do these roads gain energy from the sun, they also generate their own electricity.
In 2015, the Netherlands made a road that stretched 230 feet and was especially made for bikes. So far 150,000 cyclists have ridden over this road. One of the developers,Arian de Bondt, director of Ooms Civiel, said that, “developers were working on developing solar panels that could withstand large buses and vehicles”.
Since this is a relatively new innovation, as well as an transdisciplinary research there were some challenges. .Sten de Wit, spokesman of this project said that ,”they did not expect a yield as high as this so quickly,”. The installation and project plan was roughly about 3.5 million dollars. The doubts continued to come when it was revealed that the solar panels on the ground do not get as much energy as the ones on roofs. However, this did not stop the project. In the article, “The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected” written by Katie Valentine, she discusses that because the panels are on the ground, it doesn’t take as much space compared to the solar arrays do.
The amount of electricity that this road generated in the Netherlands,-which was 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — is enough to power a small household for one year, states Al-Jazeera America.
This innovation is being admired by many across the globe. For example, Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology and energy stated in Global Construction Review, “the maximum effect of the program, if successful, could be to furnish 5 million people with electricity, or about 8 percent of the French population,”. It is possible to see solar roads in the United States sooner than later.