Solar Paneled Roofs Over Highways – Current State and Future Directions

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March 17, 2023


Energy / Solar energy


Solar Paneled Roofs Over Highways – Current State and Future Directions

Solar Paneled Roofs | WhatNextSolar Panel Revolution

Using solar panels is quickly revolutionizing the economy. Solar panels are gaining popularity as the economy shifts to a green and sustainable energy model. Their energy is economical, efficient, clean, and sustainable, which contributes to their success.

Solar panels are widely used globally, from the rooftops of residential buildings to industrial facilities. Researchers have hypothesized that these solar cells can power future cities so that carbon emission issues could be resolved.

Emergence of solar-panel roofs

The emergence of solar-paneled roofs over roads is another new development . It  is also being explored to cater to the large space requirements for the installation of solar equipment. These solar-roofed highways can gather energy that may power vehicles or other commercial applications. Solar highways provide staggering environmental benefits too.

They have a minimal carbon footprint and drastically reduce noise pollution. They also improve street light visibility. Ever since the commencement of the solar roofed highways test project on the German Autobahn Highway. Several businesses have considered and designed innovative ways to capture and effectively use solar energy.

Forster Industrietechnik GmbH, an Austrian energy solutions firm, has partnered with the Austrian Institute of Technology. Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) employs solar-paneled roofs over highways. Their collaboration aims to develop a concept for the technological execution of such systems.

I will conduct a pilot study to show the impact of solar roofing on road surfaces. For instance, the researchers believe that this would shield the roadways from the effects of weather events like intense heat and heavy precipitation. Residents living near a highway or dual carriageway would benefit from improved noise reduction.

Solar Roadways – Solar panel

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Solar Roadways, a start-up that has raised over $2.5 million in funding. The start-up employs solar-paneled roofs over highways. They have successfully made working prototypes of solar roofs over highways, solar sidewalks, and solar parking lots. They focus on building genuinely solar roads or highways that comprise solar panels.

These highway solar panels also serve as energy sources for heating elements in highways in cold regions, which makes these roads snow-free. Although technology and implementation are limited, Solar Roadways is a promising venture aiming to revolutionize the energy sector.    

Solar panel Highways International 

Solar Highways International is a multinational corporation that works closely with governments such as Canada to develop solar panel roofed highways. According to their calculations, about 1 km of solar highway can power up to about 3500 homes in one year. The price can get as low as $0.15/ kWh.

Solar Highways is perhaps the largest and most well-funded corporation for providing solar highways. Their solar highways have a scalable, modular design that starts with 1 km which can be expanded in phases according to the requirement. They have patented technical solutions that result in maximum efficacy in the deployed solar panels.

The technology comprises square tubing steel columns and trusses, which make up for a strong yet flexible construction with an extended lifespan of 100 years or more. The solar panel implementation is innovative and ingenious. I placed them directly on trusses with a 35-degree angle, allowing maximum energy collection while also acting as a deterrent against snow accumulation.

These highways support wind turbines so these highways can integrate turbines into the solar energy system to collect more clean and sustainable energy Solar Highways primarily caters to government-funded mega projects that employ massive solar panels that are quite labor intensive. They are one of the leading players in this sector. 

Jackson Group – Solar panel

Another prominent player in this market is the Jackson Group, a company of Indian descent, headquartered in Noida, that provides distributed energy, solar energy, EPC, hydrogen, hybrid & battery energy storage solutions.

They are one pioneer of solar energy solutions. Jackson has four innovative manufacturing facilities where production sets, solar modules, and battery energy storage systems believe solar panel technology is one of the most reliable and readily accessible forms of renewable energy, which can avert the fossil fuel crisis. They provide customized solar solutions for highways and are working closely with the government to develop working prototypes of solar paneled roofs over highways.  

Another business that specializes in installing overhead solar panels on highways and along roads is TNO. They believe installing solar panels as highway roofs or along roads will cause massive sustainable energy generation. There is the installation of solar panels is facing noise barriers. They have patented a technology to work simultaneously as a damping barrier and energy source.

Apart from these installations, TNO is also working on figuring out the most effective way to integrate solar panels onto the road surface, particularly in cycle paths. The company harbors great potential as it is actively working on new ways to make solar energy more viable and affordable on highways.

Future Speculations of Solar Panel 

According to a recent study, the cost of producing solar panels is at an all-time low. As our society prepares to transition from traditional fuel sources to clean energy. Solar panels may further play a critical part in achieving a green and sustainable economy. Next solar paneled roofs over highways are an excellent solar-based solution.

They reduce the growing use of fossil fuels without having to use large areas of land for solar farms, further reducing the costs. Being cost-effective and environmentally friendly equally important solar-roofed roadways appears to have a very promising future. 

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