Solar Highway: Innovative noise barrier

Rijkswaterstaat has spearheaded the development of an innovative noise barrier in the Solar Highways project that serves a dual purpose: mitigating traffic noise while concurrently generating electricity.

This innovative barrier consists of double-sided solar panels that generate electricity on both sides. Solar Highways aligns with Rijkswaterstaat’s commitment to advance sustainable development and enhance living conditions for residents in the Netherlands and beyond. 

This innovative noise barrier not only addresses environmental noise concerns but also harnesses renewable energy, reflecting Rijkswaterstaat’s focus on balancing infrastructure development with ecological responsibility and resource optimisation.

From motorway noise to clean energy: the impact of Solar Highways

The Solar Highways project is investigating the technical and economic feasibility of integrating double-sided solar panels into noise barriers along motorways. A testament to this innovation is the barrier erected on the eastern side of the A50 in Uden, north of the Volkel exit. 

The construction of this 400 m long barrier commenced in 2018 and was concluded in February 2019. Since its completion, the solar noise barrier has been able to supply around 40 to 60 households with local green electricity.

Solar Highways: investing in greener motorways in the European Union

Over an 18-month trial period, key data about the system will be collected, allowing for an informed assessment when implementing similar initiatives in the future. The Solar Highways pilot project is part of an extensive suite of noise-reduction measures along the A50 motorway between Sint-Oedenrode and the Paalgraven junction. 

The implementation of the project has been partially facilitated by LIFE+ funding 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 A production of Rijkswaterstaat in collaboration with SEAC, ECN, TNO and the LIFE programme. Copyright 2021.)

Project period

2014 - 2020

European programme


Project website

Solar Highways


Solar Energy Application Center, and ECN now TNO.