You thought that solar panels only belonged on rooftops? Think again. The Netherlands recently opened the world’s first bike path made with built-in solar panels in the town of Krommenie, NPR reported.
This was no easy feat, especially when you consider that the bikers are essentially pedaling on top of glass panels. So how strong is the surface? The SolaRoad’s website says that the tempered glass must be able to “withstand everyday use” and hold up the weight of cyclists and even service vehicles.
So far, so good. But glass isn’t exactly skid proof, right? Turns out the SolaRoad engineers figured that out, too, by adding a skid resistant coating on the glass.
“The coating ensures that the road users have sufficient grip and are able to safely drive and walk on it,” the SolaRoad site said.
For now, the 230-foot bike path is considered a pilot program and will be monitored by the SolaRoad team for the next three years to see how much power it will end up generating and for wear and tear, Discover magazine reported. The SolaRoad team hopes the path will produce as much electricity “as is used by 2-3 average households annually.”
Could more solar bike paths be on the way? It certainly seems that way. Outside magazine featured a story about a new glow-in-the-dark bike path in the Netherlands that was inspired by Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”
Top photo courtesy of SolaRoad