Germany wants to turn autobahns into solar farms
The road authorities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are funding the development of a suspended solar array system for highways to improve operational efficiency.
As part of the PV-SÜD initiative, three research centers from each of the countries will be involved in the conceptualization and design of a pilot project on the existing route. Scientists were attracted because standard models of installing solar panels on roofs or sheds are not applicable for such an infrastructure.
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The system must be designed with the potential for car accidents in mind, and must be strong and resilient enough so that road management does not have to spend thousands of euros to rebuild after every traffic hit. In addition, special mechanisms will be required to manage wind, rain and snow, which will not violate the needs and standards of operation of the transport network.
Despite a number of implementation difficulties, the authorities became interested in the idea, since such a combination can bring a lot of positive results. First of all, solar canopies will protect the road surface from precipitation and overheating, increasing the service life and reducing repair costs. Installing panels above highways will not only increase the efficiency of their operation, but will also save land space unused for solar farms.
Preliminary, the concept looks attractive from an economic point of view and can be easily scaled due to uniform designs. However, design will not begin until researchers have carefully examined all aspects and potential incremental costs and identified real budget benefits.
Recall that last year Germany began testing the first electric autobahn.