Walkable solar pavement

Dec 9, 2019 02:36 PM ET
  • A research group from China has developed a solar floor tile for pedestrians’ and cyclists’ paths. The innovation has been piloted on Hong Kong-based Green Deck. The walkable tile is claimed durable, heat-resistant, nonslip and conversion efficient.
Walkable solar pavement
Image: Shanghai Jiao Tong University

A scientific team from two major Chinese universities has created a photovoltaic tile for walkways and bikeways. The scientists announce a solar tile similar to 20-mm-deep 500-sq-mm-area pavement.

Every tile consists of nine mono-Si cells with conversion rate of 15 percent. They are series-connected to produce about 30-40 watts of power. The components have been purchased from an unnamed domestic manufacturer and locally-assembled.

There have been two prototypes created, with different antislip coatings. One of them is more solar-transmissive, while the second one is less slippery. Anyway, light transmittance has been claimed reaching about 90 percent. Thermal resistance of the tile has been estimated at 288°C. The latter means there is no risk associated with long-lasting exposure to the sun. 

But the testing performed out-of-doors under direct sunlight has shown the result worse than predicted in terms of power generation. The developers explain this by low transmittance of toughened glass. 

The walkable solar pavement is said to be as durable and mechanically strong as concrete. The researchers state that toughened glass manufacturing tech has become much more advanced lately, which eliminated the issue of mechanical stress. As for shades over the sidewalks, they are not considered as a serious challenge either, since this can be technically resolved.



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