Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Ursula Bach

Smart streets and solar roadways

Solar Roadways are currently developing a solar road surface which could have the potential, if installed countrywide, to produce enough renewable energy to supply an entire country. The small US-based company have already developed a working prototype which has been installed in a parking lot and they are now receiving funds in order to move towards production.

Image courtesy of designboom.com

Image courtesy of designboom.com

Solar Roadways developed hexagonal glass solar panels that could be installed on a wide range of surfaces – for example roads, pavements and playgrounds.

The panels also contain LED lights notably for traffic signs, as well as heating elements which are extremely useful in winter conditions as they have the ability to melt ice and snow. Solar Roadways could also be used to charge electric vehicles, and future technology could even allow for charging whilst driving. Findings also show that headlight beams can produce energy in these panels, so cars driving by night may also be able to produce electricity.

These solar panels could be particularly beneficial for businesses and homeowners as the energy produced from driveways or parking lots could be used to power buildings, and any excess energy could be transferred back into the grid.The solar panels need to be wired up, so that errors can be easily detected and repaired. The cables will be concealed in “Cable Corridors”, which allow easy access for maintenance and repairs. It is thought that the corridors could also serve another purpose by accommodating fibre optic cables for high-speed internet.

European Green Capital

The City of Copenhagen European Green Capital 2014 is supporting massive investment in green growth and eco-innovation. The green sector is already substantially employing over 25,000 people across the Greater Copenhagen area, and involving 6,000 companies, with an export intensity of 36% above average.