Earlier this month solar road surfaces were put into use on two locations in the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland in the Netherlands. Both provinces will gain experience in the management and maintenance of solar road surfaces. With these two road sections, SolaRoad takes an important step towards the envisaged large-scale application of this innovative product, in which solar panels have been integrated into the road surface and sunlight is converted into electricity on a large scale.
This is the first time that energy is generated from the road network of the Netherlands on such a scale. For more information see the IDTechEx reports on Electrically Smart Roads 2018-2028 and Distributed Generation: Minigrid Microgrid Zero Emission 2018-2038 The strips of solar road surface have been constructed on the parallel road along the N232 in the Haarlemmermeer area (Noord-Holland) and on the bus lane along the N218 near Spijkenisse (Zuid-Holland).
The SolaRoad-technique has been developed since 2010 by a public-private partnership consisting of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO, the Province of Noord-Holland, Dynniq and Strukton Civiel road construction company. In the past four years, the SolaRoad was successfully tested on 90 metres of cycle track near Krommenie, and further development has reached a stage that allows it to be applied on the roadways.
Currently, the expected electricity yield per 100 metres of solar road surface is around 30,000 kWh per year. This energy can be used for, for example, road lighting, traffic installations, electric cars, and households. If a third of the total Dutch road network (140,000 km) were to consist of solar road surface in future, all 9 million cars could be fed by the SolaRoad, the company claims. Together with other sustainable initiatives such as the CO₂-negative N211 road between The Hague and Poeldijk and the Wattway in the province of Utrecht, the Netherlands proves its vanguard position in sustainable mobility once again with SolaRoad.
Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, the provinces involved and the first customers, are very enthusiastic about SolaRoad. In their role as road authorities, they want to gain experience in the management, maintenance, and in the future also tendering, of solar road surfaces. As government bodies, they manage extensive surfaces that can be given a double function, without impeding the road user or the surroundings in any way. The solar road will make a substantial contribution to their objectives to generate more sustainable energy.
Sten de Wit, commercial director of SolaRoad BV said “The opening of these two strips of solar road surface means a breakthrough in sustainable energy supply, especially if the road concept grows into a system which transports the electricity generated to the vehicles that are driving on the road. Just imagine, energy will then be generated at the place where it is needed. This will allow us to make a giant step towards a zero-energy mobility system.” The SolaRoad project is realised by a collaboration of the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO and Strukton Civiel building company.