THURSDAY 12 JULY, 2012 |
The Solar Tollway
A toll highway in Denver has become a clean energy powerhouse.
A series of solar panel arrays covering a 25km stretch of the E-470 was
commissioned late last month.
Generating electricity to power streetlights, signs, toll collection equipment, toll plazas, maintenance facilities and the E-470 Administrative
Headquarters; the installations at 22 sites along the highway are expected to
harvest enough solar energy to power a third of the toll road's operations.
Electricity production in the first year is estimated to top one million kilowatt hours
Over a 20-year period, the E-470
will avoid emitting 24,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to
burning 61,000 barrels of oil.
Built under a power purchase agreement with Excel Energy, the panels were
installed at no cost to the owners of E-470, who have committed to purchase
electricity generated by the arrays for 20 years.
Like the sea of rooftops in our towns and cities, our roadways also provide a
massive resource for power generation - putting land that would otherwise have
little use to creating electricity closer to the point of end consumption.
Taking the concept of solar roads a step further, we may even see roads
themselves becoming solar electricity generators in the future.
is developing special solar panels that act as a road surface.
According to the company, if all asphalt surfaces in the U.S. hosted solar
panels, they would generate three times more power than the US consumes - almost
enough to power the entire world.
In 2009, Solar Roadways was awarded a contract from the Federal Highway Administration to build the first Solar Road Panel prototype.
Last year, the company was awarded a follow-up 2-year contract to construct a prototype parking lot
that will be tested under all weather and sunlight conditions.
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