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Monday, November 10, 2014
Solar Bike Path Opens This Week In The Netherlands
A Dutch project that integrates solar panels into a bike commuter path will officially open this week, on a special roadway outside Amsterdam. Power generated by the SolaRoad's panels will be funneled into the national energy grid.
The project in the town of Krommenie is being called the world's first public road that includes embedded solar cells. The crystalline silicon solar cells are encased in two layers of tempered safety glass, mounted in a concrete housing.
The equipment is part of pre-built concrete slabs that SolaRoad says have been refined in years of testing. The company says it's been a challenge to produce energy-producing slabs that are both durable and rideable by thousands of cyclists a day.
"It has to be translucent for sunlight and repel dirt as much as possible," the company says. "At the same time, the top layer must be skid resistant and strong enough in order to realize a safe road surface."
The section of the path that's opening this week is some 230 feet long. Its creators call it a test of an idea that could someday lead to roads that generate the same power that electric cars use to travel on them. npr