You've heard of solar panels on roofs — but what about on roads? Apparently the Dutch are running out of roof space, because they're now opening the world's first public road lined with solar panels on Wednesday. The SolaRoad — a road surface that doubles as an electricity generator — is a 230-foot bike path, reports the Guardian.
At $3.75 million, It's a hefty price to pay for a bike path — but keep in mind that the Netherlands is the bicycle hub of the world (no pun intended). About 2,000 cyclists ride the path's two lanes every day.
According to SolaRoad's press release, the road is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells encased by concrete and covered with a thin layer of tempered glass. The issue with the design is that, unlike that of solar roof panels, the angle of the road panels cannot be adjusted to get the optimal amount of sunlight, thus producing 30% less energy than the roof panels do. However, in 2016, the path will be extended 100 meters, hopefully producing enough energy to power three households.
The Netherlands' TNO research institute, which developed this concept, thinks this is just the beginning: