By Tracy McGill
February 1, 2011
What could make bike riding even more efficient? How about a bike path embedded with solar panels to produce clean energy while encouraging people to get on their bikes? The town of Krommenie in the Netherlands, just north of Amsterdam, will be receiving the SolaRoad bike path, scheduled to open in 2012.
Developed by the Province of North Holland, the Ooms Avenhorn Group and Imtech, the solar bike path will be constructed with a concrete base, topped with a 1 cm thick layer of crystalline silicon solar cells. The solar cells will then be protected by a thick, heavy-duty glass surface strong enough to drive a truck over it. The SolaRoad is estimated to generate 50 kw hours of electricity per square meter per year which will be used to power street lights, traffic systems, and perhaps even households along the SolaRoad system.
The SolaRoad project is part of the Dutch government’s commitment to renewable energy. Their vision is to have an entire network of roads encapsulated with solar panels throughout the country. In the meantime, it will be interesting to learn what cyclists in North Holland think of riding on this glass-surfaced bike path.