Netherlands Test Solar Roadway Concept With Solar Bike Path

Rather than clear arable land for solar power farms, engineers have proposed using the millions of square miles of roadway and parking lots to gather in solar energy.

Rather than clear arable land for solar power farms, engineers have proposed using the millions of square miles of roadway and parking lots to gather in solar energy. In the first real world test of its kind, the Netherlands have constructed a bike path made of photovoltaic cells that runs between Amsterdaam and its suburbs. The panels form the base of the path, resting beneath a centimeter of tempered glass.

Beyond establishing that solar roadways are technically feasible, researchers hope the experiment will demonstrate the potential of networked energy. In other words, creating an infrastructure along roadways that uses solar energy to power electric automobiles to drastically reduce the costs of storing and transporting solar energy. 

"A feasibility study indicates a return of investment is possible within 20 years, and developers are aiming for a payback period of 15 years or less, according the website. Optimizing maintenance of the technical systems is another goal of the test period."

As Dr. Michio Kaku explains in his Big Think interview, solar power will eventually become more efficient than fossil fuels, meaning the market will quickly drive further innovation:

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
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