On 7 March, a total of 150 metres of solar road surface will be put into use on two locations in the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. Both provinces will use this pilot to gain experience in the management and maintenance of solar road surfaces. With these two road sections, SolaRoad takes an important step towards the envisaged large-scale application of this innovative product, in which solar panels have been integrated into the road surface and sunlight is converted into electricity on a large scale. This is the first time that energy is generated from the road network of the Netherlands on such a scale.

The strips of solar road surface have been constructed on the parallel road along the N232 in the Haarlemmermeer area (Noord-Holland) and on the bus lane along the N218 near Spijkenisse (Zuid- Holland). In the past four years, the technique used by SolaRoad was successfully tested on 90 metres of cycle track near Krommenie, and further development has reached a stage that allows it to be applied on the roadways.

Currently, the expected electricity yield per 100 metres of solar road surface is around 30,000 kWh per year. This energy can be used for, for example, road lighting, traffic installations, electric cars, and households. If a third of the total Dutch road network (140,000 km) were to consist of solar road surface in future, all 9 million cars could be fed from SolaRoad! Together with other sustainable initiatives such as the CO2-negative N211 road between The Hague and Poeldijk and the Wattway in the province of Utrecht, the Netherlands proves its vanguard position in sustainable mobility once again with SolaRoad.

Sustainability objectives of the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland

Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, the provinces involved and the first customers, are very enthusiastic about SolaRoad. In their role as road authorities, they want to gain experience in the management, maintenance, and in the future also tendering, of solar road surfaces. As government bodies, they manage extensive surfaces that can be given a double function, without impeding the road user or the surroundings in any way. The solar road will make a substantial contribution to their objectives to generate more sustainable energy.

Elisabeth Post, Provincial Executive member for Mobility of the province of Noord-Holland:

“The pilot with the SolaRoad cycle track along the N203 in Krommenie has taught us a lot since 2014. We know that the road surface generates sufficient energy and performs well when being cycled on. I have always been looking forward to the future, when this solar road surface would grow into a product that could also deal with heavy traffic. This is where we are right now, and I am fully confident of the results that this version of SolaRoad will deliver.”

Floor Vermeulen, Provincial Executive member for Transport of the province of Zuid-Holland:

“When we build or renew roads in Zuid-Holland, we want to do this in a sustainable way. In cooperation with the market, we implement innovations that contribute to this aim by saving and generating CO2 in and around our roads. If necessary, we will make an investment to give SolaRoad and other promising innovations the last push to introduction to the market, to pave the way for application elsewhere.”

The SolaRoad project was made possible with the collaboration of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO and Strukton Civiel building company.

Arian de Bondt, director of Strukton Civiel, Western region:

‘SolaRoad is a proven technology for cycle paths and a market-ready product for this application. We will make the first step towards application on roads with heavy traffic on the bus lane and the parallel road. We like to focus on projects or products with a strong technological component. SolaRoad perfectly fits in with this aim. With full confidence we take the step together towards large- scale applications, which will enable us to contribute to a comfortable, sustainable infrastructure for everyone.’

Paul de Krom, chairman of the board of directors of TNO: “This project is a fine example of the way in which TNO develops, applies and scales up knowledge and innovations, in close cooperation with partners from the government and the business community. With its participation in SolaRoad, TNO makes a significant contribution to the energy transition by applying innovative technology and contributing to a sustainable and safe infrastructure.”

Sten de Wit, commercial director of SolaRoad BV:

“The opening of these two strips of solar road surface means a breakthrough in sustainable energy supply, especially if the road concept grows into a system which transports the electricity generated to the vehicles that are driving on the road. Just imagine, energy will then be generated at the place where it is needed. This will allow us to make a giant step towards a zero-energy mobility system.”