Tampa Pilots Solar Sidewalks

The city is testing solar panels embedded in sidewalks as a backup power supply for traffic lights.

1 minute read

November 23, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Traffic light with green light on and green right turn arrow on

Shotmedia / Traffic light

As part of a plan to prepare for future power outages during hurricanes, Tampa officials are experimenting with ‘solar sidewalks’ as a backup power source for traffic lights. As Maria Rachal explains in Smart Cities Dive, the city has experienced outages during storms that slow traffic and cause crashes.

“Since summer 2020, the city has piloted solar panels embedded on sidewalks, a design meant to protect the panels from storm-force winds.” The 84 specially made panels have a slip-resistant coating and were expected to generate three to five days of power. While Hurricane Ian didn’t impact Tampa directly, it provided some less-than-ideal conditions to test the panels. According to the city’s Smart Mobility Manager Brandon Campbell, “During Ian, we saw that it continued to generate power, at least nominally during that day that it was cloudy and rainy and virtually no sun shining on them.”

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