Solar cells on a crash barrier

Flexible solar cells in crash barrier

For the first time in the world, solar cells have been installed on a crash barrier. It is a stretch of 72 meters on a crash barrier next to the provincial road N194 near Heerhugowaard. It is a test with flexible foil with solar cells. It is being investigated whether energy can be generated in a safe and sustainable manner for road lighting and matrix boards, or for supply to the electricity grid. The trial lasts a year.

Solar cells can be built into flexible films in addition to the well-known solar panels. This technology is in full development and the return is getting better. Deputy Elisabeth Post (Mobility): “I am extremely proud that we have the scoop in North Holland. Solar cells on and along our roads increase the possibilities to generate solar energy in new locations, use it locally and make smart use of available space.”

Practical test

Recently, the flexible foil with solar cells was installed in the double crash barrier next to the provincial road N194 near Heerhugowaard. Two types of films were used in this test set to compare the results: with a width of 37 cm and 50 cm. The installation of the electrical equipment and the pulling of the cables will take place at the end of July. Last year, experience was gained with a small pilot setup. This gave confidence to build the test at the N194, part of project N23 Westfrisiaweg. Now we are waiting for the first results: is there a good electricity production? Does the film continue to function properly along a road in all seasons? Can we collect and transport the energy well, even if, for example, a component fails? To answer these and other questions, equipment has been placed that collects a lot of data from the pilot and forwards it for analysis. Whether the solar cell trial on the crash barrier is successful will be announced in the autumn of 2019. The next step is to do an investigation on a larger scale, along different types of roads.

Research flexible films

It is known that flexible films with solar cells can be used for electricity production. The return is slightly less than that of the known solar panels. The applications are much larger and the performance is improving quickly thanks to new developments in materials. The partners work on various projects to apply flexible films in various places. We are also working on improved production techniques and new technologies with higher efficiency, which will make solar energy cheaper.

The project is carried out by the province of North Holland, TNO, Solliance Solar Research, Heijmans, Femtogrid, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and is subsidized by the iDEEGO (innovation Sustainable Energy and Energy Saving Built Environment) scheme of the top sector Energy, facilitated by the National Enterprising Netherlands (RVO).

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