So, cities, in general, have a lot of roads. That's one of the first things you notice about them. By contrast, something they don't tend to have a lot of is renewable energy facilities.
If only there was some way of turning roads... into energy...
Oh my god it's a road that's also a solar panel I basically can't breathe right now.
Okay, it's early days for this particular innovation, which is the work of a Dutch consortium called, originally, SolaRoad. But it's not entirely theoretical. A 100m stretch of cyclepath in the provincial Dutch town of Krommenie made of the new material opens this week. The road is built of concrete squares with solar celles embedded in them.
Here's a cheerful SolaRoad staff member holding one of the solar panels:
And here's the path in action:
The new path will be officially opened tomorrow
This isn't going to solve all of our energy problems, of course (especially not with Dutch weather being what it is). But it could at least power street lights, traffic lights and so forth, and even provide energy for nearby homes.
SolaRoad is a partnership between the Province of North Holland and a trio of private firms (TNO, Imtech and Ooms Civiel).
All images: SolaRoad.