Over the past five years, the solar energy community has seen major innovation in solar panels. First, the new solar panels are efficiently made to look like windows. As a result of the new design, there’s been a dramatic decrease in solar panel sludge, a waste pollutant left behind from solar panel creation that solar panel companies had issues with. Also, solar panels are becoming more versatile. This can be seen by having them incorporated into everyday items, like bicycles and water distillers, to improve efficiency.
Now there are reports of solar panels actually providing something else most people wouldn’t think about: shade. That is the case for a bike lane in South Korea which is topped with solar panels.
According to Carscoops, a stretch of highway in South Korea features a solar-powered bike lane running down the median. It is offset from traffic, protected by barriers, and sheltered by solar panels. The bike lane is about a few hours’ drive away from Seoul and runs 20 miles from Daejeon to Sejong. All 20 miles of it is solar panel covered.
Just to give an idea how efficiently innovative this idea is, we’ll provide the scenario: the solar panels are five feet by two feet, short side aligned with the length of the bike lane, and are offset by one foot each. That means over 13 miles of the bike lane is covered by solar panels totaling 35,200 panels. Now let’s assume the solar panels are set at producing 250 kW per year without fluctuation. That is exactly 8,800,000 kW of electricity, which is about 80 percent of the power used in New York City annually. That’s a lot of electricity.
If you want to see what the solar-powered bike lane looks like, Inhabitat provided a video by a drone displaying it from above in their follow-up. It is attached below for viewing.
[Image via Screen Capture of YouTube Video Travel from Daejeon to Sejong by bike Watch it]