Solar-powered Bike Path Lights Up Expectations

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May 18, 2015

A bike path that doubles as a solar power generator has proved a success, Dutch authorities report.

The SolaRoad, opened in Krommenie, the Netherlands, in November 2014, has seen enough above-ground traffic to power a typcial one-person house for a year. The path, which is only 70 meters long, as has proved so popular that its total power generated exceeded 3,000 kilowatt-hours. More than 150,000 cyclists used the path in the first six months, engineers said.

The path is made of concrete that is dotted silicon solar panels that are protected by safety glass. The glass has been treated so that it is skid-resistant. The opening of the road just before winter has meant that the path has sustained damage from severe weather, in the form of peeling of the coating on the safety glass. But engineers have been quick to repair the coating and are already working on a more weather-resistant replacement.

The test phase for the SolaRoad is expected to last three years, according to TNO, a Netherlands engineering firm that helped create the path.

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