• A bifacial solar panel fitted noise barrier on a highway has been officially launched in the Netherlands
  • These panels line up 400 m long stretch on the noise barrier of A50 motorway in the municipality of Uden
  • Funded by the EU, the performance of bifacial solar panels will be monitored for 18 months basis which it will be scaled up

The Netherlands has officially announced completion of its Solar Highways project with bifacial solar panels lining the east side of the A50 motorway in the municipality of Uden. Panels line up a 400 m long stretch on the noise barrier of the motorway.

This pilot project is an initiative of the country’s public works and water management Rijkswaterstaat under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, made possible by €1.4 million ($1.6 million) LIFE funding from the European Union. For the Solar Highways project, Rijkswaterstaat partnered with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and the Solar Energy Application Community (SEAC).

Rijkswaterstaat says a noise barrier with bifacial solar panels integrated on this scale has not been developed and applied before. “’We are proud to have contributed to the important step that is being taken today in the upscaling of solar energy. The road is open to go from a 400 m long noise barrier with double-sided solar panels to hundreds of kilometers. Not to mention the many other applications that the bi-facial solar panels offer us,” said Director of ECN Ton de Jong.

Following the launch, energy generation by these panels will be measured for the next 18 months during the test phase by SEAC. Results will help estimate the maintenance requirements, energy performance and financial yield of future solar sound screens.

The EU says one among the specific objectives of the project is to demonstrate the technical feasibility of integrating PV cell technology in widely applicable highway noise barriers, as well as to develop a technological-financial model to convince investors that return on investment is sufficient to open up new business opportunities and facilitate broad implementation.