We still may be waiting on those hoverboards, but at least the future of solar has finally arrived with the launch of the first solar-powered bikepath in the Netherlands on Nov. 12. In May a viral video captured people’s imaginations with a picture of what the future could look like – not quite flying cars but maybe even better!
Demonstrating the spectacular potential to transform existing asphalt surfaces such as roads and lots into solar panels cells, the video has received more than 18 million views on YouTube, with a cool factor and “wow, why didn’t we think of this sooner?” feel. The idea came from two engineers in Idaho who experimented with a smart-grid road made entirely of solar cells that, according to the article about them on Grist.org have t he following characteristics:
“Solar Roadways’ panels have heating elements to melt snow and ice, five-color LED lighting to create road lines, and corridors for moving and storing stormwater. The surface is made out of textured glass, which sounds pretty fragile, but apparently the panels can withstand 250,000 pounds.”
Now several news outlets including Grist.org and The Huffington Post are reporting on the first solar-powered bike path in the Netherlands — while it may only be 250 feet long with the potential to “eventually power three homes,” it’s a pretty bright idea!