Back in November last year, the project SolaRoad announced the opening of the first ever bicycle path, which has integrated solar panels to generate clean power for the grid in Amsterdam. The news was great. After all the development was innovative, useful, pro-active, and although it might not seem like a good value for money at first, it was an incredible initiative that above all raises awareness against all deniers.
Unfortunately, not many people were that open-minded about it. Here, I am not talking about the readers of The GreenOptimistic, who did not use the piece as a reason to express their frustrations with the world, and place tons of harsh criticizing comments under the original post. But across the net, people did not miss an opportunity to express their negative opinion and talk against those, who actually try to do something good.
Thankfully, the guys behind the SolaRoad carried on with their pilot phase and now, half a year down the line, they were able to prove all ney-sayers very wrong. The solar bike path generated a total of 3,000 kWh over the six months, which translates into enough energy to power a 1-person household for a whole year. In other words, a square meter of this bike path can generate more than 70 kWh annually. According to the press release, these numbers were predicted as an upper limit during the the laboratory stage, indicating that the first half year was definitely a success.
Now, OK, I do not deny that for the $3.7 million that went into the project, this is still quite a poor return. However, do you remember how expensive solar panels were when they first hit the market? Or electric and hybrid vehicles? In fact, there is no single technology that does not take some time before it becomes affordable, cost-effective, and starts generating revenue. After all, I believe, an additional bike path, which firstly facilitates clean and healthy transportation, and secondly, generates clean electricity, cannot be a bad idea, right?
Image (c) SolaRoad