A small town in the Netherlands is the frontier for a new type of energy harvesting – but not pedal power.
Today a new solar panel-lined bike path on the outskirts of Krommenie will officially be opened by Dutch Economic Affairs Minister, Henk Kamp.
Called SolaRoad, it is a pilot test of just a hundred metres of concrete squares measuring 2.5 by 3.5 metres. Solar cells are fitted underneath a top layer of tempered glass roughly 1cm thick.
For the next three years the project developers will keep an eye on how well it stands weathering, how much energy it produces and simply, what it’s like to cycle over. Before the surface was laid, the road was safety tested in a lab.
The makers believe in time, the solar power from the road will be used for street lighting, traffic systems, electric cars which could drive on the surface and even households.
A group of businesses, research institutes and local government are behind SolaRoad and project manager Wim van der Poel has said it is a “starting point” and that using energy to charge electric cars while they are driving over the road is “a beautiful dream, which might become reality”.