Netherlands to install solar highway noise barriers

A total of 68 solar noise barriers will be installed, which Heijmans says will generate enough electricity to power 40 to 60 homes. The project is the largest of its kind so far installed in Europe, and will be tested and monitored once completed, to assess the value of further initiatives of a similar kind.

Installation work is set to begin in early 2018, and the solar noise barriers should be connected to the grid by the end of the year. The barriers will be five meters high, with the upper four meters incorporating bifacial solar cells integrated into the glass.

The location was chosen due to a pre-existing need to modify the noise barriers currently in place, and the direction of the road, which will allow the bifacial panels to be installed in an east/west set up.

Once connected, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (Rijkswaterstaat) plans to use this project to investigate the feasibility of installing further solar noise barrier projects across the country.

Prior to this project, Heijmans participated in a field study which demonstrated that the use of solar noise barriers on roads and railways could be an effective way to generate electricity. Though a latecomer to solar compared to other European countries, the Netherlands has recently made significant progress with renewables, and earlier this week announced that it would close all of its coal power plants by 2030.