Getting back to the theme of the Living Labs Global Showcase Awards, I wanted to highlight a project that is being developed in the Netherlands called “SolaRoad.” I think it is particularly relevant to Stockholm’s search for innovative intelligent transport systems to encourage less driving and more biking (among other alternatives).
A Netherlands-based company called TNO has developed technology for a solar-panel road surface. As cycle tracks have fewer strict design requirements and lower traffic load and physical impact, the company decided to pitch their initial SolaRoad pilot at cycle tracks in the Netherlands (15,000 km exist so there is high expansion potential). The construction includes a concrete base layer topped with solar cells, which is then covered by an optical layer and topped off with a transparent top layer. TNO claims the technology produces the exact same amount of energy as is harvested by the typical rooftop application of solar panels and would cost roughly the same amount. They predict the technology to earn back its costs within 5-8 years of implementation and after that to be profitable. Their first pilot is set for 100km of cycle track in Noord Holland to be completed in summer of 2012 and to extend through 5 years of experimentation.