From: Kevin Mathews, Care2, More from this Affiliate
Published November 10, 2014 07:53 AM

First Solar Panel Bike Path Planned in Amsterdam

As one of the biking capitals of the world, Amsterdam can already make a case for being a leader in the green movement. The city is not resting on its laurels, however. Now, biking around the city is getting even greener than just being car-free: a bike path in the suburbs of Amsterdam is getting a major solar makeover.

The trail, which connects the small communities of Wormerveer and Krommenie, is the preferred route of approximately 2,000 local bicycle commuters each day. Local authorities have opted to replace 230 feet of asphalt with solar panels to generate plenty of renewable energy. By 2016, the planners anticipate generating enough power to sustain three homes.

Though cycling will inevitably attract dirt to the solar surface thereby blocking some of the sunlight, they are designed to be self-cleaning. Tilted ever so slightly, the panels should allow rainwater to wash the dirt off the path.

Because the path was originally laid out without considering the optimal positioning to have the most access to sunlight, the panels will only be able to produce about 70 percent of the energy that solar panels on typical roofs can create. That said, the government hopes to continue expanding the solar capacities on the trail to make it more effective.

If the plan sounds vaguely familiar, perhaps you’ve read about Solar Roadways, a project originated by Scott and Julie Brusaw. They’ve been busy advocating to turn roads and parking lots into solar panels. They claim that if all of the roads in the U.S. were switched to solar panels, the country would be able to reduce its carbon emissions by 75 percent.

Despite being encased in glass that can withstand the weight of dropped steel balls, critics worry that the surface won’t survive the longterm wear and tear. Theoretically, the path should work out, but it remains theoretical until it proves practice. Thank goodness that the Netherlands is willing to foot the nearly $4 million bill on this ambitious project to test its feasibility.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Care2.

Bike path image via Shutterstock.

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