The province of North Brabant in the Netherlands announced that it will build a 500-meter-long ground-based solar bike path along the N285 provincial road near Wagenberg and test its performance five years after completion. It is expected that 600 solar panels will be laid on the asphalt road.
The entire photovoltaic system will consist of 600 solar panels of an unspecified type and will be integrated into the asphalt top layer. "The main purpose of this project is to gain more experience in deploying solar cells on bicycle lanes," the Dutch provincial government said.
Over a period of five years, experts from the provincial government in the Netherlands will in particular assess the solar modules' resistance to mechanical stress imposed by pedestrians and cyclists, the maintenance costs of the photovoltaic system and the power generation.
This isn't the first time solar-powered bike lanes have been built in the Netherlands either, with a bike lane near Amsterdam fitted with solar panels in 2016 and another in the province of Utrecht built in 2020. However, there are still many doubts about the economic feasibility. After all, solar panels will have the challenge of uneven power generation due to the shadow of pedestrians and bicycles, and whether the weight will affect the module is also an issue.
The Dutch provincial government said the construction of the Wagenberg solar cycle path is part of a larger project called "Zon op Infra". This is a Dutch government initiative to test the viability of solar power on road infrastructure. The plan includes deploying solar installations along highways and noise barriers.
Due to the scarcity of land resources, the Dutch authorities are struggling to find available ground for the deployment of large-scale photovoltaic power plants. In recent years, research institutions and private companies have tried to prove the feasibility of building solar projects on non-agricultural land, including embankments, rooftops, land and sea water.