500m solar cycle path under construction in the Netherlands

 

  • The Dutch province of North Brabant has announced the start of construction of a 500-meter-long, ground-mounted solar cycle path along the provincial N285 road near Wagenberg.

The PV system will be integrated into the asphalt top layer and will consist of 600 solar panels of an unspecified type. “This project is mainly intended to gain more experience with the deployment of solar cells on bicycle paths,” the provincial government said, noting that two similar systems have already been deployed along the N395 road near Oirschot and along the N324 road near Grave, in North Brabant itself. 

During a 5-year period, provincial government experts will assess, in particular, the resistance of the solar modules to the mechanical stress applied by the presence of pedestrians and bikers, the costs for their maintenance, and the PV system energy yield.

Solar roads in the Netherlands are not an unfamiliar concept. A bike path near Amsterdam was equipped with solar panels in 2016 and another one was built in 2020 in the province of Utrecht. The feasibility and economic viability of solar roads, however, still remains controversial.

The provincial government said construction of the solar bike lane in Wagenberg is part of a larger project called “Zon op Infra,” a Dutch government plan to test the viability of solar power production on road infrastructure. The plan includes the deployment of solar installations along highways and on noise barriers. 

The Dutch authorities are struggling to identify surfaces on which to deploy large-scale PV plants due to the scarcity of land. In recent years, research institutes and private companies have tried to prove the feasibility of solar projects on non-agricultural land, including dikes, rooftops, onshore and offshore water surfaces.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission. 

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