Earlier this year saw the opening of the very first solar pathway in Amsterdam, one of the most picturesque places in Europe. The solar pathway is 70 meters long and connects two suburban neighbourhoods within the city. The solar pathway intended for cyclists is filled with rough, textured glass-lined PV cells to collect clean energy from the sun.
Many in Amsterdam have become curious about the futuristic solar pathway, and are eager to go to the areas of Krommenie and Wormerveer to find out how this unusual roadway works.
Solar pathway intrigues residents of Amersterdam
While a number of residents within the area are amused, many others are sceptical and have raised questions regarding the presence of the road and the implementation of the solar pathway project itself. This is not because it is a bike pathway, as many locals in Amsterdam are avid bike riders, but because of the unconventional use of solar technology. Generally however, the solar pathway has generated interest and appreciation in this city.
SolaRoad is responsible for the first solar pathway, an alternative energy project that has become quite popular, mainly because it differs from other solar roadways projects that have been ongoing within the city.
So far, a mere 70 of the total 100 meters that was planned had been finished and only half of the road can be used.
The solar pathway is exposed to the rays of the sun for much of the day, making its location a perfect one for the project.
SolaRoad yet to overcome several inherent obstacles in pathway design
Many have been asking about the kind of traction present on the solar panel road path. Those who have experienced being on the road described it as heavily bumpy and texturized that they were more concerned about being wiped out on it than on a conventional cement road.
Others are unsure about whether the pathway can create greater reflection than ordinary surfaces or not. Solar pathway designs generally can, but it is still unclear if it will pose any problem to users.
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If there is anything unusual about the reflections from the surface of the road, it’s the fact that they are visible even in grainy photographs.
What makes the solar pathway worth using instead of a traditional road is the wear-and-tear that’s bound to happen to the surface eventually.
Whether solar pathway will be able to cope under pressure still unknown
Research showed that one way of knowing road wear is via the fourth-power law, which states that any damage to the road caused by the vehicle is connected to its axle weight’s fourth-power.
Currently, many people who are generally pro-solar are having doubts about the effectiveness of solar panels as they are embedded into roads.
It will need time before everyone will see how this type of road performs in not-so-ideal conditions and be able to draw conclusions. For now, since the use of the solar panel bike path is still considered to be not fully operational, making judgments on whether the road offers sufficient benefits or not is still not possible.
Photo courtesy of Baptiste Pons on Flickr