Motorways could be used to generate electricity with the help of solar panels. A pilot project, in which a section of the autobahn in Germany is to be covered with photovoltaic modules, is now taking shape. The foundations for the building will be laid this year, and the steel structure, including the photovoltaic elements, is to be erected in the first and second quarters of 2023. This was announced by Autobahn GmbH when asked by heise online.
The demonstrator will be a 10 m × 17 m roof made of photovoltaic modules, which will be elevated about 5.50 m above the road with a steel structure. The structure is to be built in the area of the thoroughfare and heavy-duty lane of the “Im Hegau – Ost” service station and rest area near Singen in Baden-Württemberg, which runs parallel to the A81 motorway. The Autobahn GmbH des Bundes and the project partner Fraunhofer ISE are currently agreeing on how the generated solar power should be fed into the existing grid.
The facility is to be accompanied by measurement technology and science for over a year, said Autobahn GmbH. This should result in findings for a possible continuous operation of such special structures. In February of this year, the Federal Ministry of Transport told heise online: “Although the modular design of the planned demonstrator has some cost advantages, a widespread use of solar roofs over motorways is not to be expected in the medium term.”
Switzerland checks and issues tenders
In Switzerland, the government is examining which sections of motorway are suitable for being covered with solar panels. Theoretically, all routes that do not run in the tunnel are possible there, that is 1300 of a little more than 1500 km. Noise protection walls and galleries could also be equipped with panels. The potential of the noise barriers amounts to around 55 GWh of electricity per year, which would be around 0.05 percent of Switzerland’s electricity consumption.
Companies in Switzerland can now apply to the local Federal Roads Office (Astra) to install solar panels on noise protection walls on national roads. This involves around 350 noise barriers and 100 rest areas. The Astra itself already operates solar systems in the vicinity of tunnels and at work yards.
Recommended Editorial Content
With your consent, an external survey (Opinary GmbH) will be loaded here.
Always load polls Load poll now
In Germany, too, noise protection walls are to be increasingly used with photovoltaics for energy generation. In March 2021, the results of a pilot project on the A3 motorway were presented. The then Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) saw the combination of noise and climate protection as a “complete success”.
Since the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which was amended at the beginning of 2021, all solar systems are no longer considered in one pot in tenders in Germany, systems for buildings and noise protection walls are tendered separately from systems for open spaces and other structural systems. The Federal Network Agency recently announced the results of the latest tender.
To home page