Solar Highways

Solar Highways

Rijkswaterstaat is developing a sustainable noise barrier that absorbs traffic noise and simultaneously generates electricity. This innovative barrier consists of double-sided solar panels that generate electricity on both sides.

Why

The Solar Highways project is investigating the technical and economic feasibility of integrating double-sided solar panels into noise barriers along motorways. This innovative barrier is built on the east side of the A50 in Uden, north of the Volkel exit. The construction of the 400-metre-long barrier started in 2018 and finished in February 2019. Since completion, the solar noise barrier is able to supply local green electricity to around 40 to 60 households.

Important information about this system will be collected over a test period of 18 months. This will enable a good estimate to be made in the future when implementing similar initiatives. The Solar Highways pilot project is part of a total package of noise-reduction measures along the A50 motorway between Sint-Oedenrode and the Paalgraven junction. The project is made possible in part thanks to LIFE+ financing from the European Union.

Video: Sustainable and innovative: Solar Highways

(On-screen text: Rijkswaterstaat has developed a sustainable noise barrier that absorbs traffic noise and simultaneously generates electricity. Solar Highways: A50 in Uden, sustainable noise barrier, blocks noise, generates electricity. Solar Highways is 400 metres long and 5 metres tall and consists of 1,600 m2 of solar panels.) UPBEAT MUSIC (The innovative sound barrier consists of solar panels that generate green electricity on both the front and rear sides. Fully integrating this type of double-sided solar panels in a sound barrier at such a scale is unique, both within and outside of the Netherlands.) (Heijmans started construction of the sound barrier in the summer of 2018. After completion of the foundation and framework, the concrete elements were placed. Next, the 136 soundproof solar panels were mounted. Due to the smart modular system, panels can be placed and replaced with relative ease.) THE UPBEAT MUSIC CONTINUES SOFTLY (On the rear side, metal welding seams have been carefully applied to all panels. Connected and bundled, the welding seams run to a junction box. These junction boxes are connected to an optimiser placed in the aluminium bar of each framework. Through wires within the framework, the solar energy is led from the sound barrier to a control box with inverters. Through these control boxes, the green electricity is led to the switching station.) THE UPBEAT MUSIC SWELLS (From the switching station the generated green electricity flows into the national power grid. Green electricity has been generated since December 2018. During the Solar Highways project, the energy output of the solar noise barrier will be accurately measured for 18 months. Local green electricity for 40 to 60 households.) (In doing so, together with ECN (part of TNO) and SEAC, Rijkswaterstaat hopes to make an innovative contribution to a sustainable future.) THE UPBEAT MUSIC STOPS (The Dutch coat of arms, next to: Rijkswaterstaat. Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The screen turns yellow and white. On-screen text: More information? Go to www.solarhighways.eu/en. A production of Rijkswaterstaat in collaboration with SEAC, ECN, TNO and the LIFE programme. Copyright 2021.)

Project period

2014 – 2020

European programme

LIFE+

Project website

Solar Highways

Partners

Logo LIFE