Dutch solar bicycle lane generating more power than expected

solaroad in use
© SolaRoad Netherlands

We tried to be charitable in our first post on Solaroad, the solar bike path being built in the Netherlands, pointing out that it is a prototype, an experiment. So what if it costs $233/watt installed when rooftop solar in Europe costs $2/watt; you can't ride a bike on your roof.

Now, after six months of operations, the first results are in, and they are better than expected. According to their press release,

"We did not expect a yield as high as this so quickly.” Says Sten de Wit, spokesman of SolaRoad. “The bike road opened half a year ago and already generated over 3,000 kWh. This can provide a single-person household with electricity for a year, or power an electric scooter to drive of 2.5 times around the world. If we translate this to an annual yield, we expect more than the 70 kWh per square meter per year, which we predicted as an upper limit in the laboratory stage. We can therefore conclude that it was a successful first half year.”

Yes, I know the critics will say that's a pretty poor return on a $3.7 million investment, but that price also includes a bike path. Like any experiment or prototype, it has not been trouble-free; temperature fluctuations have caused some delamination due to shrinkage in the skid-resistant coating installed over the 1cm (3/8") glass that protects the solar cells.

As noted in the earlier post which attracted seriously negative comments, the vision for the solar roadway is much greater than just generating a little bit of power; they eventually hope to use such a smart road for traffic management, snow melting, controlling self-driving cars and even powering electric cars that run on it. Which is a good thing, because as a solar power generating roadway, it still makes absolutely no sense at all.

Dutch solar bicycle lane generating more power than expected
But at a cost of a hundred times more than comparable rooftop solar, does it make sense?

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