California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Malcolm Dougherty has signed a letter of intent with the Province of Noord-Holland (Netherlands) Vice Governor Elisabeth Post, MMC to look at sustainable options for capturing solar energy in transportation infrastructure.
Caltrans will explore the Dutch technology, known as SolaRoad, which implements the use of solar panels in roadway projects and has been successfully implemented in a project in Krommenie, The Netherlands. The idea behind SolaRoad is that sunlight falling on the road surface is converted into electricity by concrete panels with solar cells and a translucent top layer of tempered glass. The generated electricity can be used for street lighting, traffic systems, electric vehicles and households.
“We’re excited to explore the application of solar energy in Caltrans assets – everything from emergency power generation to provide self-sustaining maintenance stations to lighting signs and lamps, among others,” says Dougherty.
California and The Netherlands are leading the way for zero-emission transportation and energy innovation in terms of sales, policies and incentive programs, vehicle research and development and innovation, and education and public awareness. Both states have committed themselves to stringent climate change action programs to meet 2030 goals in terms of greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable energy generation.
In the Netherlands, the first SolaRoad project is a solar bicycle path in Krommenie in North Holland, which opened November 2014 and is being tested for three years.
Caltrans’ District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura counties) will explore the Dutch technology at its maintenance rest area in Lebec along Interstate 5 in Kern County. The Dutch representatives will join Caltrans on Friday, April 1 to discuss capabilities, possibilities and information exchange.