I Netherlands, always at the forefront in promoting sustainability and ecological transport, have recently inaugurated two innovative solar cycle paths in the provinces of North Holland and North Brabant. These new infrastructures, developed by wattway, represent a fusion between sustainable mobility and renewable energy production.
With an extension of 1.000 square meters each, these tracks are small routes for two-wheel lovers, and at the same time highly efficient solar systems.
The technology behind the slopes
The Dutch solar cycle paths are an extraordinary example of innovation. They use cutting-edge technology that integrates solid, thin solar panels that fit snugly into the existing path. Despite their thinness, however, these panels are extremely durable and able to withstand cycling traffic.
The surface of the panels is covered with a multi-layer substrate of resins and polymers, and designed to be translucent. This allows sunlight to pass through, but without creating visibility problems for cyclists.
The innovation doesn't stop there: the surface of the panels is treated to guarantee the same grip as traditional road mixes. They thus ensure the safety of cyclists with the adequate resistance to withstand daily wear and tear.
Solar cycle paths, significant energy impact
With improved power compared to previous installations, these solar bike lanes are designed to produce 160 MWh of renewable energy per year: enough energy to supply electricity to numerous homes, making a contribution to the Dutch electricity grid.
It is a small turning point in the use of urban space for the production of renewable energy. With over 35.000 km of cycle paths, the Netherlands has a unique opportunity to transform these routes into clean energy generators, without having to sacrifice precious land for large-scale solar installations. It is an excellent example of how existing spaces can be used for multiple purposes, increasing energy efficiency and promoting sustainability.
We can and must evolve urban infrastructures
The concept of a solar cycle path is progressively leaving the mere dimension of a "stylistic exercise" to enter the range of intelligent and effective solutions.
The future challenge will be to further refine this technology and extend its application on a larger scale, not only in the Netherlands but also in other countries around the world. As awareness of environmental issues and the need for alternative energy sources increases, projects like these could become increasingly common, offering practical solutions for a greener future.