A trio of technology leaders in Europe — the Austrian Institute of Technology , Fraunhofer ISE in Germany, and Forster Industrietechnik in Switzerland — is working to develop a solar canopy system for highways in order to tap into the vast, under-utilized road network for clean electricity generation. The PV-SÜD initiative is still at the concept stage, and then will move to implementing a pilot project on a real-life roadway. Image (not directly related to this initiative) by LABOR3 for Sonnenkraft/HSH. The solar power infrastructure would need to be developed to handle things a bit differently from rooftop solar panels or even solar panel carports. For one, you wouldn’t want tens of thousands of dollars (or euros) of damage every time there’s an accident. So, the system would need to be developed in a way that it would be especially sturdy or resilient in the case of impact. It would also need special design to manage wind low as well as rain and snow in a way that is compatible with the needs of the roadway network. Naturally, traffic safety is another unique concern, and efficient maintenance would be important to making it cost competitive. What’s the point? Well, […]

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