Failure Challenge – Testing new bike lanes using solar panels

Failure Challenge – Testing new bike lanes using solar panels

The North Amsterdam bike path was the first to be covered in solar panels. The 72-metre-long test section was built by French company Colas in collaboration with the French National Solar Cell Institute. Solarroad was opened at the end of 2014, and after half a year the project was considered a success.

But the fact is that a square meter of the surface layer had already fallen in 2014, and in January 2020, the damage to the centimeter-thick solar panels was so great that the entire solar path was removed in November of the same year. Thus, the project was considered a failure.

Another try

However, a new attempt to combine bike paths with electricity production is now underway, this time also in the Netherlands. In the province of Noord-Brabant, they have now activated two bicycle paths with solar panels that together cover an area of ​​1,000 square metres.

The solar panels are only a few millimeters thick, in contrast to a less successful attempt a few years ago. Photo: Whatway

The hope is that they do Connecting 160 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually to the electricity grid“, writes transportation website Electrek. With more than 3,500 kilometers of bike paths in the Netherlands, the contribution of green electricity could be significant.

Thinner cover

They will use a new type of durable solar panel that is only a few millimeters thick. The surface is coated with a material that will give the bike tires grip.

This technology is provided by Wattaway, which specifically has solar-powered methods as a niche of its own. The company belongs to the Colas Group, which was also responsible for the failed attempt in the Netherlands, and so far Wattaway has about 40 testing facilities under its belt.

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Where previous road surfaces provided 119 W/m2 (Peak) Annually, the cycle paths in North Brabant produce 160 W/m2 (summit). Wattaway implemented the project in cooperation with the contracting company BAM Royal Group.

The article was first published on New technology

Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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