Caltrans eyes using SolaRoad solar panels in roadway projects to generate sustainable energy

Updated Apr 2, 2016
Crews install a SolaRoad bike path in the Netherlands in 2014.Crews install a SolaRoad bike path in the Netherlands in 2014.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) plans to “explore” the use of solar panels in roadway projects as a means of producing sustainable energy through transportation infrastructure.

Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty signed a letter of intent with Vice Governor Elisabeth Post of the Province of Noord-Holland (Netherlands) to “discuss capabilities, possibilities and information exchange” on the use of SolaRoad solar panels. Officials from both entities plan to meet and discuss the issue April 1.

SolaRoad created a solar bicycle path in Krommenie in North Holland in November 2014. The system will be tested for a period of three years. Caltrans wants to use SolaRoad’s technology at a maintenance rest area on Interstate 5 in Lebec in Kern County.

“We’re excited to explore the application of solar energy in Caltrans assets—everything from emergency power generation to provide self-sustaining maintenance stations to lighting signs and lamps, among others,” Dougherty says.

Both The Netherlands and California have “committed themselves to stringent climate change action programs to meet 2030 goals in terms of greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable energy generation”.