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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday May 13 2015, @01:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-future's-so-bright... dept.

Phys.org reports on a pilot project in the Netherlands to generate power from solar panels in a bike path that has so far exceeded expectations:

The first six months of the pilot phase were successful, according to a SolaRoad press release issued earlier this month. The energy yield was beyond their expectations. Spokesperson Sten de Wit said they were surprised to see the level of success so quickly. Case in point: "The bike road opened half a year ago and already generated over 3,000 kWh," he said. "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."

Related Stories

Georgia Tests New Solar Road 37 comments

http://www.curbed.com/2017/2/6/14521102/highway-the-ray-solar-power-transportation From the article:

Highways have never been the sexiest infrastructure projects, but Allie Kelly, the executive director of The Ray, believes that preconception will shift dramatically over the next few years due to rapid technological shifts. With politicians in Washington discussing the administration's ambitious infrastructure plans, now is the time to make investments in our transportation system. As far as Kelly is concerned, that vision should focus on achieving zero deaths, zero carbon, and zero waste. She hopes The Ray can serve as the laboratory where new ideas and revenue models are tried, tested, and proven possible.

"We're at a tipping point in transportation," says Kelly. "In five to ten years, we won't remember a time when we invested a dime in infrastructure spending for a road that only did one thing."

[...] Initially, the vision for The Ray was to add a solar installation in the median, along with a wildflower garden, to remind drivers about the environmental costs of the transportation system. But the results of the study suggested a more dramatic plan was needed. Since then, The Ray, in concert with the Georgia Department of Transportation, has slowly rolled out a number of new initiatives to improve both safety and sustainability. In 2015, a new electric charging station powered in part by photovoltaic panels, a joint project with funding from Kia Motors, became the first in the state.

This past year, the Ray added a strip of Wattway solar panels to an entrance ramp, and installed a WheelWright tire pressure sensor at a rest stop right next to the Alabama state line. The new British device helps drivers quickly test and maintain proper tire pressure, a leading cause of crashes.

Over the next year, the foundation plans to add more new tests that will help build out a more holistic roadway. A one megawatt solar installation will be installed in a right-of-way as part of a joint effort with Georgia Power to turn the highway into a place for power generation, and a series of bioswales—landscaped drainage ditches that naturally filter pollution—will turn the areas adjacent to the highway into more clean, sustainable, and natural landscapes.

"We're pushing the idea that these kind of installations can become widespread energy generation system for state departments of transportation," says Kelly. "Highways can eventually make money, and even serve as a power grid for the future."

Previous stories on solar roads and pathways:
Solar Generating Roads
SolaRoad Cycle Path Electricity Yield Exceeds Expectations


Original Submission

Thieves Swipe a Portion of China's Solar Road 13 comments

Solar roads have plenty of potential problems, such as damage and snow, but theft? Apparently that's a concern, too. China's Qilu Evening News reported that thieves carved out a small (5.9in by 73in) portion of an experimental road in Jinan on January 2nd, a mere five days after its December 28th debut. While it's tempting to suggest this was an accident, officials said the missing segment was "neatly cut," and didn't appear to have come loose on its own.

The segment has since been repaired. An investigation is ongoing, but there aren't any identified culprits as of this writing.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/07/thieves-take-portion-of-china-solar-road/

Previously: Solar Generating Roads
Solar Roadway not Quite so Practical
SolaRoad Cycle Path Electricity Yield Exceeds Expectations
World's First Solar Panel Road Opens in Normandy Village
Georgia Tests New Solar Road


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:08PM

    by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:08PM (#182377) Journal

    ...they may have something. From TFA:

    The coating on the solar cells' protective glass tends to peel off when the weather changes, for example, suggesting that the path could be expensive to maintain as-is." (The press release said that at the end of December 2014 and in early Spring of 2015 a small section of the coating "delaminated." Large temperature fluctuations can cause local delamination due to shrinkage in the coating, it noted. "Repairs have been made and the development of an improved top layer is now in an advanced stage.")

    The panels are not angled and they're operating 30% less efficiently, so a larger surface area is needed (and is available). If they can figure out how to make the coating last longer or at least cost less to maintain there could be a market for the technology.

    --
    It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:14PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:14PM (#182380) Homepage

    Roadbeds are approximately the worst place to put solar panels, when you compare with:
    - Rooftops
    - Lampposts
    - Cantilevered off of walls
    - Open fields
    - New structures built over parking lots (added bonus: the cars and people there get shade and/or rain protection)

    Although much less of a problem with bike paths than roads, you still have to deal with bearing the weight of what's on top of it, and the inevitable scratches and grime that will accumulate and make your panels get less light and thus be less efficient.

    --
    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:21PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:21PM (#182383)

      I think maybe what they're aiming for is aesthetics. Get all the solar panels down in a way that looks nice. That and bragging rights.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by rondon on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:22PM

      by rondon (5167) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:22PM (#182385)

      While I agree with the facts of your post, I can't and don't agree with your conclusion. It isn't stupid, because the government doesn't own very much of any of the things that you have listed. What they own a ton of is the asphalt that we drive/walk/bike on. Trying to make that resource more effective is not stupid. Squeezing efficiency out of fixed assets is how we increase our standard of living.

      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:55PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:55PM (#182401) Homepage

        It isn't stupid, because the government doesn't own very much of any of the things that you have listed.

        So? It's not like they couldn't have set up a loan program to install panels in any of the places I listed out, charging slightly less on loan payments than the private owner will save in electric bills. Or they could do the overhead structure similar to what's used on parking lots over the asphalt they own.

        Solar panels are great. Let's use them in cost-effective ways, though.

        --
        A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:06PM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:06PM (#182407) Journal

          In the past, many have laughed at new scientific developments but fortunately that did not deter the people doing the groundbreaking work. True, currently there are easier and more effective ways of collecting solar power, but I can't think of any that exploit road and path surfaces. There are obstacles to be overcome, sure, but what we might learn in the process could be valuable for the future and, if the final project is successful, then the Dutch will be having the last laugh. If they can solve the problems and come up with a cost-effective solution (and I accept that is a big 'if') they will be on to a winner.

          --
          It's always my fault...
      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday May 13 2015, @10:24PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @10:24PM (#182665) Journal

        It's still going to be cheaper and easier to put the solar panels OVER the road or path rather than UNDER it. That's what they're doing in South Korea and it seems to be working just fine. You can also put them on plenty of other government property -- reservoirs seem to be an excellent choice, as the panels operate at higher efficiency since you get free cooling. At least put some up on the roof of every government building. Once they've run out of space there, then it might make sense to start putting them in/on/along the roads.

        But really it's still going to be cheaper to go buy new property to build a solar plant on than maintaining solar roadways. Solar panels are gonna cost a few million per acre. Land is maybe a few thousand per acre. Land is not a significant part of the cost here. Probably around one tenth of one percent. So taking a HUGE hit on the reliability and maintenance costs of those panels in order to use less land is pretty stupid. Also building them in the roads means you have to use PV cells, and PV cells are not the best way to do solar. Buy a couple empty acres and you can use cheaper and more environmentally friendly mirror systems instead.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:06PM (#182440)

      You forgot the most obvious one: awnings.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:53PM (#182462)

        You forgot Poland.

    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:44PM

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:44PM (#182457) Homepage Journal

      Perhaps you are looking at it backwards. Solar panels are a good place to put roads!

      By increasing the foundation required for the surface, this might be a more durable solution than current roads. Coming from Michigan I would be on board of solar roads if they meant no potholes.

      • (Score: 2) by Covalent on Wednesday May 13 2015, @06:33PM

        by Covalent (43) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @06:33PM (#182529) Journal

        Hello Fellow Michiganian!

        How about building the solar panels OVER the roads or on the median. If you're a Detroit-area fellow like me, you know there are southward facing medians all over I-94, I-696, and I-96 that would be perfect for this. There is already a good size solar array just off of I-96 in Novi:

        http://archive.freep.com/article/20140310/NEWS06/303100020/dte-solar-panel [freep.com]

        But why not kill two birds with one stone: Cover sections of the freeway and put panels on top of the covers. Save the roads from the snow / salt / plowing and get solar power in the process.

        --
        You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
    • (Score: 2) by Mr Big in the Pants on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:50PM

      by Mr Big in the Pants (4956) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:50PM (#182460)

      While I cannot disagree with most of your premises your conclusion is faulty. You realise that testing parallel ideas are still valid even when there are better alternatives, right?

      I have seen cynics aplenty rave on how solar will "never work" because there is not enough surface area. Well, here is one of many ideas.

        - Another is passing a bylaw to make all city buildings have solar or greenery on their roof....as one country did
        - Another would be to farm this out to desert areas and pipe the power in...as is done in many places
        - Another would be residential homes...as is already done....
        - Another would be to create solar panel covered walkways for peds...probably already done
      ....etc

      And the best part is that solar panels can be made to look a LOT sexier than concrete...and it helps offset its additional cost.

      All that remains is more research and design to make this particular sort of hardened panel more efficient and cost effective.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 14 2015, @02:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 14 2015, @02:05AM (#182759)

        farm this out to desert areas and pipe the power in

        To my mind, that's the opposite of a good idea.
        Having generation and consumption in the same place seems to be the plan here.

        My mantra: The future is renewable and distributed.

        residential homes

        Redundant, but yeah.
        I think rooftop solar is the future for most things; it even works at the extreme latitudes of Germany.

        .
        This deep in the Sun Belt, I cringe when I see cars parked in the afternoon Sun.
        I imagine people's bare thighs touching the vinyl upholstery.
        Parking lots with roofs covered in solar cells used to charge the vehicles below is my vision of the future.
        2 birds; 1 stone (not to mention shielding folks from the occasional rain).

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday May 13 2015, @05:44PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @05:44PM (#182486) Journal

      You beat me to the punch with covered parking lots. Our local IKEA in Long Island has parking space covers, but they don't generate electricity, merely shade the spots. Electricity generated from the acreage of parking lots covered by solar cells would be substantial, and may even cut down on the heat island effect cities suffer. The same could be done for roads and railroads. Those add up to a lot of space, and, like you said, solar coverings would supply sun, rain, and snow protection. I'm actually considering doing that over our driveway to supplement what we can fit on our roof.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by erichill on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:37PM

    by erichill (658) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:37PM (#182393)

    Dave has a great video blog [eevblog.com] to review the results.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:55PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @02:55PM (#182402) Homepage Journal

    I swear, journalists get even dumber, when they are reporting about green technology. Others have already pointed out why this is a stupid idea, unless all of the decent locations for solar cells are already taken, because it reduces the efficiency of the solar cells by a factor of 3 compared to a normal installation.

    But lets look at the production costs, since that's what the article is all excited about: this little stretch of road produced 3000 kwh of energy in six months, so that will presumably be around 6000 kwh per year. Let's value that: prime-time electricity in Europe costs around $0.20/kwh, so this project produces around $1200 of electricity per year.

    What does it cost to build a solar road, what with the special foundation, hardened glass, etc, etc? This article doesn't say, of course, because you don't want to juxtapose the two figures. But I sure do. This road produces $1200 of electricity per year. The road cost $3.7 million to build. [treehugger.com] If we ignore any maintenance costs, and any discount for the future value of capital, this road will pay for itself in only 3000 years. Maybe just a bit longer than the expected lifespan of the solar cells.

    Why are journalists incapable of noticing these little discrepancies? Asking the hard questions? Isn't that supposed to be their job?

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by janrinok on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:21PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:21PM (#182416) Journal

      But you are not thinking long term. How much did the first desktop computer cost? I have a 5Mb hard drive (yes - 5Mb) that cost several hundreds of pounds when I bought it. How much does a hard drive cost today? How much were you prepared to pay for your first LCD screen, and how does it compare in cost, resolution and power consumption today? All new developments cost many times what would be economic for the long term but prices invariably fall due to the benefits of mass production, improved manufacturing techniques and using new materials in novel ways. So if they can not only solve the problems but also produce a surface that is more cost-efficient to produce then they will benefit in the long term.

      Perhaps the journalists had thought this through a little more than you give them credit for? And I also think that to try and eventually fail at something is far better than not trying at all. Lots of things have been developed as spin-offs from another more significant problem. Velcro, non-stick coatings, and WD40, spring to mind quite readily as products that had major uses in the space industry but are in widespread use today.

      --
      It's always my fault...
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by tftp on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:49PM

        by tftp (806) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:49PM (#182431) Homepage

        I have a 5Mb hard drive (yes - 5Mb) that cost several hundreds of pounds when I bought it. How much does a hard drive cost today?

        But don't forget that the 5 MB drive was still a financially reasonable purchase back then. It's just computing services were more expensive at that time, as you sell them. This road is not financially reasonable - neither now nor ever. I'd understand if this is an arcology, and all the surface has been already claimed. But that's hardly so. In fact, bicyclists would benefit from overhead solar panels, as they provide shadow and protection from rain.

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:25PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:25PM (#182448)

          No, no, they said 5Mb - so only 0.625MB, or 640kB. Several hundred pounds seems a bit steep for only a few floppies worth of capacity, but maybe they really needed the speed... /snark

          I agree that, at the moment, this technology doesn't make financial sense - but it's first-gen technology. I guarantee you that first-gen hard drives didn't make financial sense either. Nor first-gen magnetic-core memory, nor pretty much any other high technology. This is a glorified field test to see if there are any horrible unforseen problems. Give the tech 50 years of development and produce it in quantities of a million square miles per year, and I'll bet you the price can be brought down by an order of magnitude or two - at which point it starts making wonderful sense. But that can only happen if there's at least a trickle of funding for its development while in its infancy. And them stupid socialists tend to be willing to invest in long-term solutions - they just don't understand that it doesn't contribute to their quarterly bonuses.

      • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:33PM

        by wonkey_monkey (279) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:33PM (#182449) Homepage

        5mb hard drive? Luxury! We used to have to make do with 5.25" 100k floppy discs, and we had to cut our own holes in 'em to use 'em double-sided.

        --
        systemd is Roko's Basilisk
        • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Wednesday May 13 2015, @07:54PM

          by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @07:54PM (#182581) Journal

          5.25" floppies! You had it easy! We used to use 8" floppies, and to use the other side we had to turn the boxen upside down! 80k, and we liked it!

          --
          #Free{nick}_NOW!!!
      • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:52PM

        by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:52PM (#182461) Journal

        Sure, mass manufacturing brings down cost and technology improves with time. But I think the problem that most people are pointing out is the upfront installation cost (labour can't be mass manufactured) coupled with the long term maintenance costs vs the return.

        Solar energy on roof tops, or anywhere above ground is good. Solar energy embedded in sidewalks that are beaten on a daily basis sounds like a step in the wrong direction.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by rts008 on Wednesday May 13 2015, @05:51PM

          by rts008 (3001) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @05:51PM (#182495)

          I think the point that you(and others looking at the costs) are missing is this:
          In it's present state, you may be right, but you are not looking ahead far enough past 'next quarter profits'.

          When the reality of powered flight came about in the early 1900's, I'm sure you would have been one of the ones protesting the development of multi-passenger aeroplanes as too costly, because ships, trains, and balloons already exist. That is the person all of you sound like.

          "The established way is good. Looking for new ways sounds like a step in the wrong direction."
          Do you really want to sound like that, or is that what you really mean?

          • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday May 13 2015, @09:32PM

            by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @09:32PM (#182642) Journal

            I liken it to mining the moon for raw materials where we have plenty here on earth. There might come a time when we need to mine the moon. But that time isn't here yet and we don't really have the tech to do it in a cost effective manner. I am not against solar roadways but jumping on the bandwagon and demanding this be installed using existing tech is going down the wrong path. One day it might be totally worth it. But that day has not come yet. It may sound sighted but that is how the economy works.

            The point here is you still have to destroy existing infrastructure and build much more complex infrastructure for this tech. And you more maintenance involved than other solutions. Meanwhile there are millions of square meters of rooftop baking in the sun with near zero foot traffic and no trees or dirt (well some dirt). And how many multi hectare parking lots exist? Drill a few holes and mount a solar canopy over the parking spots. That makes 100x more sense especially if we shift more towards electric cars. Everything is above ground and is easily serviced. No worrying about water ingress into your underground electrics.

            Lets use the infrastructure we already have. Let's tap that first because that will result in a bigger return which will fuel more development. You are not going to be able to move forward if you exhaust your effort into an overly complex solution with a minimal return.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by gargoyle on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:22PM

      by gargoyle (1791) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:22PM (#182417)

      How much does the road cost to build without solar panels? The difference between the same section of road done normally and with solar panels is the true cost that you need to compare with the income from the roads although it will still be a horrendously bad payback.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:54PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:54PM (#182433)

        Locally the "rails to trails" and similar groups publish reports and going from "flat-ish landscape" to paved trail is a decent fraction of a million per mile. Usually expressed as cost per lineal foot so $75/foot for something that'll be a couple feet wide and need some bulldozer work and a roadbeds and some culvert work but nothing astounding.

        Assuming its repaving/reconstruction work the cost drops quite a bit, because you've already got a mostly flat and landscaped surface.

        IF they blew $3M or more on the project, the exact cost doesn't matter very much because it'll be a rounding error, less than 10%.

        Something interesting to think about is a paved trail that is well designed and never carries more weight than some fat bicyclists will last a very long time, and at least around here you need to purchase a trail pass to ride a bike on a paved state trail, so even at relatively modest popularity the overall program ends up being vaguely revenue neutral. The local trail connecting my home town to the next town on the bike path network is a couple miles and historically they only pave it about every 20 years and they only need to sell a thousand or so trail passes annually to pay for that link in perpetuity, which is far less than they actually sell, of course connecting 100 person farm towns is a bigger financial challenge but on a state wide average it works out. ANYWAY the point is you need "about ten times the trail pass cost" or "about ten times the number of trail users" to survive the cost of trail installation and maintenance going up by a factor of about ten. I don't think the market would survive ten times the trail pass cost. IF the trail is ten times more popular than my "recreational capital" area (good luck with that) then maybe it's affordable, although its converting something that was a massive cash cow into barely breakeven.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by M. Baranczak on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:25PM

      by M. Baranczak (1673) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:25PM (#182420)

      To be fair, the cost is inflated by the fact that this is the first installation of its kind (and probably a bit of old-school corruption). If someone gets serious about mass-producing these things, the price will come down. But it still won't be enough. These panels make 1/3 as much energy as roof panels, and it's guaranteed that they'll cost more than roof panels. The only way this design would possibly make sense is if all your prime solar panel space is already taken.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anne Nonymous on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:30PM

      by Anne Nonymous (712) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:30PM (#182421)

      It's an experiment. Sometimes we learn more from the stupid experiments that the elegant ones.

      • (Score: 2, Disagree) by jmorris on Wednesday May 13 2015, @08:02PM

        by jmorris (4844) <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Wednesday May 13 2015, @08:02PM (#182585)

        Fine sentiment until you think a nanosecond or two. These idiots are wasting taxpayer dollars, dollars every nation in Western Civilization is currently printing and borrowing to cover up the fact they can no longer tax their citizens enough to keep the welfare state going. There is, almost by definition, a veritable infinity of stupid ideas money could be thrown down a rathole on in the hope one or two might produce useful knowledge. Doesn't mean it is a good idea to do that. Doubly bad to borrow/print the money for it.

    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:44PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 13 2015, @03:44PM (#182428) Journal

      I'm betting it's north of $1200/m2 for the installation. Just pouring a square meter or square yard of concrete here in the US is around $100-300. Then add the panels, inverters, wiring, glass, and labour for that. Then we have the glass which will scratch and wear over time blocking light. Even scratch resistant glass isn't immune. And who cleans the glass when it gets dirty and how often?

      We had a new sidewalk poured in front of commercial property we own about 10 years back. Cost was around $10,000USD for about 90m2. A new electric meter for a tenant was $4000. All they did was add the meter pan, disconnect the tenants panelbox from ours and ran a new feeder from the meter pan. A 300W solar panel costs about $300, a dollar a watt and goes up or down depending on brand/quality/bulk etc.

      So think about how much this stuff costs. It adds up pretty quickly. The labour will always be your biggest factor no matter how cheap you can get the materials for. Labour is one thing that can't be mass manufactured unless you want to use slaves or something along those lines.

      People are ignorant of these factors when talking about green energy. The "fuel" is free but there is always a large upfront cost (like any project) and maintenance that someone has to perform.

    • (Score: 2) by Mr Big in the Pants on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:57PM

      by Mr Big in the Pants (4956) on Wednesday May 13 2015, @04:57PM (#182467)

      This was a one off installation of a small prototype.

      You cannot POSSIBLY be suggesting that those figures are in any way relevant to its long term viability...?! Maybe it will be, maybe it won't, but it's far too soon to tell.

      Not to mention the general concept of taking ugly, cheap concrete/iron construction sites and making them dual purpose? Or the general message they were trying to convey of sustainable energy.

      People trying stuff out like this and paving the way forward (haw haw) are who change the world.

      People being small minded on forums...don't...

      • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13 2015, @05:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13 2015, @05:29PM (#182480)

        I'm with the "dumb idea" camp. Using the public right of way is a good idea, but driving on glass + some plastic coating just seems bound to fail. Wiring in-ground is another problem -- conduits underground usually fill with water, so the terminations are above ground...

        What if the same solar cells were above the bike path, maybe an attractive looking "awning" that cantilevers from posts on one side of the path. Put the posts far enough off to the side so they are not a hazard for bumping into. Would allow the cells to be angled for best efficiency and also give some shade/precip protection to the path. The support structure could be similar to the large signs used on major highways -- strong enough to deal with wind loads on the big signs.

        As noted elsewhere, the labor cost is always a big factor, this would allow normal paving companies to bid on the contract to make/maintain the path. The solar would be maintained by a separate crew with special training -- no need to train people with both sets of skills.

        If something like this solar path/road was proposed in my area, I'd reference the cost numbers that someone posted above. Nice that the experiment has been done and now we know that it's a fail. No need to repeat the failure elsewhere...

    • (Score: 2) by soylentsandor on Thursday May 14 2015, @08:13AM

      by soylentsandor (309) on Thursday May 14 2015, @08:13AM (#182835)

      Let's value that: prime-time electricity in Europe costs around $0.20/kwh, so this project produces around $1200 of electricity per year.
      (...) this road will pay for itself in only 3000 years

      I think you're being a little too optimistic here :)

      That price includes tax - in fact the bulk of it is. Production cost is closer to $0.05/kWh, so multiply your number by four giving a ROI of 12kY. Nice!

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday May 14 2015, @08:34AM

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 14 2015, @08:34AM (#182840) Journal

        The price of building it also includes tax.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.