SolaRoad Netherlands : Solar-powered cycle lanes are go

SolaRoad Netherlands : Solar-powered cycle lanes are go

Netherlands – SolaRoad is new surface for cycle paths that converts sunlight into electricity and the first stretch, near the Dutch town of Krommenie, opens next week.

The SolaRoad project is the result of five years of research done by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), which worked with road construction and technical service providers to see if Holland’s roads could absorb energy from the sun, according to Gizmag.

The path is made up of solar panels designed to convert solar energy into electricity for the grid, and it will run through the suburbs of northern Amsterdam. Each concrete slab measures 8.2 x 11.5 feet (ft) and comes with a layer of crystalline silicon solar cells covered by a 0.4-inch protective layer of tempered glass. The SolaRoad team said the top layer will be able to absorb sunlight while providing a strong and safe road surface.

The bike path currently stretches 230 ft, and its creators plan to expand the path to 328 ft in 2016, Gizmodo reported.

The team also hopes that the path, once at its full length, will generate enough energy to power not only homes, but also street lights and traffic signals.

Testing will be done over a three-year period to see how much energy the bike path can generate and how safe the path will be under different weather conditions, Gizmag reported. The project is designed to produce solar power on a small scale first, which the team says will save money for development to take place in the future.

SolaRoad joins other projects aimed at using roads as an energy source, such as the U.S.’s Solar Roadways, which looks to eventually cover all roads in the country with solar panels.