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  • Image by moz.de

Solar roads are critically reviewed in regards to their actual capacity to generate energy and provide safe usage. They are expensive comparably and haven’t been tested on a large scale yet. But there is always a but. And it starts with SOLMOVE a Berlin-based company that recently covered parts of a bicycle lane with those hardened glass panels.

Besides all the mentioned downsides there are some factors that show the potential of a road covered in modular solar units, specifically in achieving decarbonization. The most obvious being that they can generate electricity. They are also equipped with LED lighting and heating elements making them safe during warm and cold weather alike. They are smart in the sense that each unit contains sensors allowing it not only to communicate with each other but also to collect data. Under the framework of Electrification companies like Solmove are working on the technology to allow inductive charging for all kinds of electric vehicels which could be an interesting aspect that renders charging stations obsolete.

But these are just the technical sides of it. A road that in the long run earns money for the municipal offers an interesting potential. And so does the idea of a road network that is able to change its lane sizes or even its distribution of modalities according to the actual traffic needs of citizens that are using it – real-time. Under the umbrella of city planning a road that can easily be set up or be removed might offer some flexibility and experimental options as well.

That is why we consider those technological innovations beyond there feasibility at the moment. Yes, there are issues with it right now but we value the possibility for experiments – in thought or action. Solar raods can be more than just roads they could become digital assets for cities to decarbonize.

To further push solar roads Solmove is planning several more projects not only in Germany but LA and China as well. In the latter, they are combining a solar road with a specific lane for electric shuttle buses to mention just one example.

Check out their website for more information on the technology and the vision behind the project:

And for more ideas on how solar roads can be beneficial check out this campaigning video from solar roadways: