The global solar highway market is projected to witness a double-digit compound annual growth rate during the forecast period. According to a recent study in 2016, 80% of the Earth’s surface is without roads. It is estimated that from 2010 – 2050 the roads will increase globally by more than 60%. Although roads aid in connectivity they also cause a lot of damage to the natural habitat. This innovation of Solar Highways has a positive impact on the environment. These specially designed roadways are made of material that contains photovoltaic cells that capture solar energy. The solar panels used are strong enough to bear the weight of cars and even semi-trucks. The main goal of these solar highways is to generate clean and renewable energy. The solar panels laid on the roads convert solar energy into electricity.
- Increasing concerns for the environment have led to boosting demand for renewable energy resources. A huge amount of R&D done by major companies has caused significant advancements in solar technology.
- Solar Highways is one of the latest technologies using solar energy to convert it to electric power. Some major companies like Solar Roadways, Colas, and several others have developed photovoltaic panels that can generate 410-kilowatt hours per day. In December 2020, an Idaho-based company; Solar Roadways has announced to raise $1.07 million through equity crowdfunding. The company has made hexagon road tiles, which contain solar cells, led lights, wireless communication capability as well as a heating element. The invention was so awe-inspiring that the company has received three phases of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Major countries like France, China, Netherland have already started the race towards protecting the environment by investing in R&D for these solar highways. Recently in July 2020, AIT and German partners have announced a solar road canopy project that would produce green electricity as well as help in maintaining the roads when it comes to removing snow and cleaning them.
- In Netherland, another pilot solar bike lane has been made in 2020, to check the feasibility of the solar roads. The solar industry is estimated to grow in the coming years and with the reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic components, the demand for solar highways will also increase.
- The cost of making these solar highways is very high. A huge sum goes into R&D, production, installation, and then maintenance, this may be a major concern for the companies. Pilot projects done by Colas, Solar Roadways, and Shandong Pavenergy have not given desired results. According to a recent study, three years after the introduction of the solar road in France the project could not deliver what it had promised. The challenges faced include solar panels started to peel off from the road, using that road created a lot of noise that the locals required to lower the speed limit to 70km/hr. Moreover, Normandy where this road was built receives sunlight only 44 days a year. It was not able to produce 790 kilowatt-hours per day as promised. Similarly, Solar Roadways encountered a failure even after receiving huge funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Solar panels work at their best potential when they are pointed towards the sun but the solar panels on the road which are lying flat, get limited sunlight. Panels on the road are also subject to adverse weather conditions, repairs of these panels are costly. Some manufacturers use tempered glass as one of the components and if it gets a crack the entire panel becomes ineffective.
APAC Region to witness lucrative growth
The rise in the demand for electricity will boost the demand for solar highways in China, Japan, and South Korea. An increase in the demand for photovoltaic panels for parking lots in Asia Pacific countries like China, India, etc. will boost the market.
- By Material
- Perovskite/silicon tandem
- By Application
- Parking Lots
- By Geography
- Europe Middle East and Africa
- United Kingdom
- Asia Pacific
- South Korea