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Beautiful Solar Highway Projects

Beautiful Solar Highway Projects

The Oregon Solar Highway Program seeks to further the use of solar energy in greening the nation’s grid, adding value to the existing public right of way, and supplying clean, renewable, home-grown energy to Oregonians.

In 2008, the Solar Highway Project in Oregon (USA) was one of the first eye catcher world wide. Right now, there are a lot of examples of PV along the highways that power grids. 

Because of the project’s high visibility, the team also took more extreme security measures than most projects need. A fence with razor wire and a motion detector surround the panels, protecting them from theft and graffiti. The 594-module, 104 kW project costed about $12.50 per W – about 50 percent higher than the average price for commercial projects installed that year in the state.

The Oregon Solar Highway Program seeks to further the use of solar energy in greening the nation’s grid, adding value to the existing public right of way, and supplying clean, renewable, home-grown energy to Oregonians. Through support from the U.S. Department of Energy, the program is helping others discover this great opportunity, too.

Solar powered highway Daejeon-Sejong South Korea

Bikers are protected from the sun, riding beneath this beautiful solar covered bike lane

Solar powered highway South Korea

Aerial view of the bicycle road between Daejeon and Sejong, both cities are located 2~3 hours south of Seoul.

According to Carscoops, a stretch of highway in South Korea features a solar-powered bike lane running down the median. It is offset from traffic, protected by barriers, and sheltered by solar panels. The bike lane is about a few hours’ drive away from Seoul and runs 20 miles from Daejeon to Sejong. All 20 miles of it is solar panel covered.

Just to give an idea how efficiently innovative this idea is, we’ll provide the scenario: the solar panels are five feet by two feet, short side aligned with the length of the bike lane, and are offset by one foot each. That means over 13 miles of the bike lane is covered by solar panels totaling 35,200 panels. Now let’s assume the solar panels are set at producing 250 kW per year without fluctuation. That is exactly 8,800,000 kW of electricity, which is about 80 percent of the power used in New York City annually. That’s a lot of electricity.

Solar powered Highway BelgiumSolar powered rail ‘tunnel’ Belgium

16,000 solar panels installed on the roof of a high-speed rail tunnel in Antwerp, Belgium have been officially entered into service. The solar installation is the result of a collaboration between Belgian rail operator Infrabel, renewable energy developer Enfinity, the municipalities of Brasschaat and Schoten and solar construction company Solar Power Systems.

The Solar Tunnel, is the first of its kind in Europe as it is the first time railway infrastructure has been used to generate green energy. The solar energy will be used in the Antwerp North-South junction (including Antwerp Central Station) by the trains and station servicing both conventional and high-speed trains.

Sound Barrier with Solar Panels FranceSound Barrier with Solar Panels France

A noise barrier – 650 m long and approximately 4m high, is located on the A21 motorway in the north-east of France – is producing electricity thanks to solar panels in France since 2000. The equipment has a power rating of 63 kWp.

The electricity production surplus is used for a pumping system by a local water company. The surplus is re-injected in the domestic distribution network.

A single row of panels mounted along top of noise barrier to create a 1.5 meter high linear array of panels the full length of the noise barrier.

Clear Solar Panels Double as Highway Sound BarriersClear Solar Panels Double as Highway Sound Barriers

In the Netherlands, a chemical engineer has installed roadside noise barriers that double as solar panels. These panels, installed on A2 Highway, use a new kind of renewable energy technology called luminescent solar concentrators (LSC). Unlike typically metallic solar panels, these are red, yellow, and translucent. They are also cheaper than standard silicon-based panels—one of the reasons they’re be tested in a real-world context.

Each LSC panel is essentially sheets of plastic that, depending on the dye, captures a certain wavelength of sunlight, and then funnels that light toward solar cells on the panel’s edges.

 

Sound Barrier with integrated solar cellsSound Barrier with semi-transparent solar cells

Also in the Netherlands you will find the sound screen with integrated solar cells in transparent glass. The solar cells could generate 30 megawatt per year. The project was designed with a key focus in mind: combining an effective noise barrier with sustainable energy production and an appealing design.

These solar cells are integrated into the glass. In façades and roofs of buildings this already happens, but integrated solar cells on this scale are new for the Netherlands. In order to protect the solar cells from protruding pebbles of passing cars, the glass is 8 mm thick. Both on the front and the back of the solar cells.

Converters and other electrical components are also integrated in the screens. In November 2017, this power-supplying sound barrier will be operational.

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