A Skeptical Take on the World's First Solar Bike Path

Big news out of the Netherlands this week: a Dutch company has installed the world's first solar-powered bike path. But are the system's inefficiencies worth its costs?

November 13, 2014, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Brad Plumer explains the drawbacks of the "first-ever bike path built entirely of solar panels," unveiled on November 12, 2014. Plumer's concerns follow a cost benefit analysis: "The bike path will cost roughly $3.7 million and, when it's fully built out to 330 feet in 2016, will generate enough electricity to power… three households. Not very cost-effective. (That's more than 1,000 times costlier than the price of rooftop solar electricity in the United States.)"

Plumer quotes Craig Morris, of Renewables International, who is "sour on the whole idea." A better idea, according to Morris: "You could install roofs above parts of the bike paths and then install solar panels on the roofs. Less dirt. You can angle the panels. More electricity with less hassle."

Plumer goes on to explain a few modest but creative possibilities for the use of solar roads.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 in Vox

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