Success! Dutch Solar Bike Path 'SolaRoad' to Expand Operations Until 2018
SolaRoad's solar bike path project is expected to continue its operations until 2018 after success in its few years of trials.
According to Clear Technica, the solar bike path project will carefully expand to cover more ground. It will test new modules that can convert sunlight to electricity while, at the same time, facilitate bike travel.
SolaRoad has also launched the SolaRoad kit, which is 10 meters of solar bike path that companies can order.
Californian road authority Caltrans and Dutch province North Holland has also ordered the development of a second project in Lebec, Kern County. However, no details were revealed aobut this new development.
According to Tree Hugger, SolaRoad has started the solar bike path last 2014 in Krommenie, near Amsterdam. It replaced 70 meters of a tarmac bike path with its own special solar modules.
They solved the problem of constant wear and tear from bikes using a one centimeter-thick coating. It is said to be transparent but strong enough to not compromise its traction. The path had more than 300,000 cyclists using it for its first year in operation.
The Dutch solar bike path was expanded by another 20 meters last October 2016, and some of the new modules have thin-film photovoltaic panels, a press release stated.
However, the SolaRoad project is not without its fair share of difficulties. Embedding solar panels in the road can have a lot of problems. For instance, there is the positioning of the modules and the need to protect them from the weight of the bicycles.
Regardless, SolaRoad's performance is noteworthy. The solar bike path had already produced 3,000 kWh of power during its first half year of operation. This exceeded the 70 kWh per square meter annual power that was expected of its performance from the labs.
Last 2015, SolaRoad was reported to have produced 9,800 kWh. This is equal to the amount of energy used by three households in the Netherlands for a year.