Lithuania testing bifacial PV in noise barriers


Lithuania-based solar module manufacturer SoliTek and Stalcorp, a Lithuanian provider of noise reduction foam and noise attenuation walls, are participating in two pilot projects integrating PV into noise barriers, one alongside a railway near Vilnius, and the other along the national E5 highway connecting the cities of Kaunas and Vilnius.

Lithuanian railway management company LTG Infra, part of Lithuanian Railways, installed a wall 70 m long and 4.5 m in height. It will be equipped with 60 frameless, dual glass transparent SoliTek Solid Bifacial 370W modules. The bifacial modules are resistant to extreme loads, hail and wind, generating 13.2 MWh of electricity per year, according to Solitek.

“If the results meet expectations, such solar power plants could be installed in many sound-absorbing or reflective walls, especially in cases where they are newly built during the development of railway infrastructure,” SoliTek CEO, Julius Sakalauskas, told pv magazine.

Elsewhere, the Lithuanian roadways administration, Via Lietuva, plans a similarly sized 20.7 kW project to be installed in September. It will deploy 56 SoliTek Solid Bifacial 370W solar modules. “Due to the good location and southern orientation, the project is expected to generate 15 MWh of electricity per year,” said Sakalauskas.

“The European route E85 will provide us with data for a broad portfolio, both for railways and automobiles. In both projects, detailed observations will be carried out – of solar radiation, sound, vibrations, to assess the parameters and their changes.”

A retrofit test will also be carried out at a location where existing sound walls are being dismantled to be replaced with a solar module solution.

Tests of this type are also underway at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) outdoor field testing site. The interest is driven by expected regulatory changes for infrastructure-integrated PV and the potential market size as described in the latest research by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).


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