To get more energy from the sun, a company is putting solar panels in places that have never been before: the street.
This week, the Dutch company SolaRoad officially opened the world's first solar road in the suburbs of Amsterdam. The 230-foot (70 meters)
Extension of energy
According to the company, absorbing concrete and glass will be used as bike lanes for commuters.
The concrete that makes up the bike lane is embedded in crystalline silicon, which is the same material as in conventional solar cells.
There are two layers of safety glass around the battery that allows the sun to shine on the silicon while preventing the material from being trampled.
Electricity generated by solar cells
It is reported that a whole year is enough to support two or three families --
According to SolaRoad, it will be filtered into the local grid. [
Top ten emerging environmental technologies
But the bike lanes are not installed to power some local residents.
This is part of a broader effort by SolaRoad and local government agencies in the Netherlands to find new ways to incorporate green energy into the country's existing infrastructure.
Over the next three years, SolaRoad's bike lanes will serve as a test platform, an opportunity for the company to improve its products before entering the next phase of development.
SolaRoad will collect data from the road itself and collect feedback from people who are traveling in cycles to determine if solar energy is
One day, according to SolaRoad, panel concrete can cover municipal roads or highways.
In the future, such a road may be more than just electricity for a few families.
The company's officials said in a statement that such "green" roads could generate electricity to power street lights and traffic signals running along the road, and even electric vehicles.
But there are some problems with the idea of embedding the path of solar panels.
First, the recently installed bike lanes are easily covered with dust and debris.
This type of "pollution" will affect the amount of light passing through solar panels.
But how much this dirt and dirt will affect energy production is one of the many questions the company wants to answer during the testing phase.
Other countries are also embracing the idea of incorporating solar energy into existing infrastructure.
Although no other solar roads have emerged, the City of London installed 4,400 solar panels on the roof of an existing bridge on the Thames in January 2014.
In the United States, a company called solar roads raised $2 million from recent crowdfunding campaigns to support a project to develop solar panels --
Covered with paving stones.
These materials are similar to those used by SolaRoad in the Netherlands.
Palermo with Elizabeth @ techEpalermo.
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