Freeways Generating Solar Power  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Inhabitat has a post on an unusual project in Victoria to mount solar panels along the freeways as a combined power generation and noise barrier option. I'm not sure this is a good use of solar panels compared to mounting them at the optimal angle on rooftops, but the more PV installed out there the better - Could solar freeways power our cities ?.

In the search for a solar solution to power our cities, one of our biggest obstacles is the massive acreage required by conventional arrays. Photovoltaic panels are flat and expansive, and urban centers are at a serious loss for free space. Now Australian renewable energy retailer Going Solar has conceived of a clever strategy that infuses urban transit systems with energy producing potential - install solar panels in highways as sound barriers!

Going Solar’s first highway installation was completed on the Tullamarine Calder Interchange in Australia. The solar sound barrier comprises 500 meters of photovoltaic panels that are attached to a public display showing the project’s power output. As the highway is located near some residential areas, energy doesn’t have to travel far to reach its destination, and the massive solar panels provide much needed soundproofing to the houses nearby.

It is expected that the installation will produce 18.7 megawatts per year, which is enough to cover its cost in about 15 years. The innovative application has netted Going Solar the ATRAA’s award for best grid-connected system.

4 comments

This does seem like an interesting use of freeway space. If it pays off in 15 years it seems like a good deal.

I suspect you'd still get more bang for the buck by just building a new coastal wind farm or an inland CSP plant - but I'm certainly not complaining about it.

Hopefully our city freeway noise barriers are all eventually draped in thin film solar for their entire lengths...

Very clever "outside the box" idea. Great use of space and dual purposing. Arizona (USA) should take note.

Why not use the radials in the tires to generate energy by magnetic induction. Put magnets in the road and watch the electricity being created. Two wires on each magnet running across the roads. Small and thin so as to not cause any problems with control. Thats how induction works perhaps get the tire companies to create induction tires it would not cause any noticeable drag.

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