A trial with generating electricity using flexible solar foil on crash barriers along a Dutch road has been successful. This is reported by the TNO research institute.
According to TNO, the flexible solar cells continued to function well in all weather conditions. However, the total energy yield was somewhat lower than expected. “The new insights are useful to improve this technology and to be able to apply it in practice.”
The test installation with flexible solar foil on a 72-meter double guardrail ran along the Dutch N194 for a year.
First of its kind
According to TNO, the design is the first of its kind worldwide. “There was no moisture penetration or defects and the set-up provided energy until the end, although slightly less than expected.”
The yield of the test set-up was approximately 1,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, while yielding approximately 1,800 kWh / year was expected, which corresponds to the consumption of an average 1-person household.
Flexible ‘thin-film solar cells’ were used because ordinary solar panels are too stiff and too dangerous in collisions. According to TNO, several major improvements are needed, including the protective cover on the solar cells. TNO also believes that costs must be further reduced in order to generate “profitable and sustainable” energy with such an integrated system.
“The redesign should therefore also pay a lot of attention to the installation costs, often the largest cost item of a solar system.”
The flexible solar foils could also be used on noise barriers and other construction works along the road.
Source article and picture: RTLnieuws.nl, 17 June 2020