Solar Bike Paths


Solar Cells Being Placed on the Ground


Sustainability Problem: The demand for renewable energy is on the rise as many cities start thinking green. The main issue with generating renewable energy in cities is the lack of space. Limited roof space means limited potential for solar panels and placing wind turbines can be a challenge in a city where there is limited open space. Another problem is congestion and high traffic, these cause high level of pollution and health risks rise.

Solution: The first step in solving this problem is bike paths. Major cities are beginning to adopt these, giving bikes there own dedicated paths. These have encouraged many people to ditch their cars for bikes and thus, minimizing emissions and health risks.

To take this technology a step further, solar cells can be placed on the ground, covered with a protective coat to act as solar bike paths. These have been tested in the Netherlands and far exceeded expectations. Not only do these act as bike paths, but they continuously generate electricity from sun rays as well as heat from friction as thousands of bikes pass through them. The technology solves two sustainable problems, emissions as well as renewable energy sourcing in cities. These can be connected directly to feed into the grid.

Solar Bike Paths in Action in the Netherlands

Stakeholders: Local government, citizens, electricity providers, transport construction companies and bike shops.


Next steps:
Pitch idea to local governments and electric providers as efficient renewable source with minimum service. Provide evidence of their success in the Netherlands and use that to support arguments. Advertise the technology by targeting the growing bike riding community to gain interest and pressure.


By: Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098)

Resources used:



Comment on: “Reducing GHG Impact Through Smart Bins”

A lot of the problems city face with waste management is transporting these outside of the city. Many have shifted their focus into finding innovative ways to “organize” and minimize the waste before it is being shipped out. Cities have adopted these solar bins or the commonly found BigBelly that efficiently help recycle a lot of city waste. I am interested to know how you plan to sell this idea as a simple Google search tells me that they typically cost around $4000 per unit as opposed to the standard bins that cost a minimal percentage. Is it worth investing hundreds of thousands of these bins or in educational and cultural programs that would encourage consumers to put in a little more effort when it comes to waste management?




4 thoughts on “Solar Bike Paths

  1. I really enjoyed this article and this piece of technology. Solar panels generated 3,000 kWh in 6 months. This outperformed the threshold that was estimated in a lab due to prior testing. It seems that this technology could be easily deployed and has great benefits, despite the cost.


  2. This is a fantastic thought and a perfect use of existing space. I myself have thought of alternatives to such innovations- how about mounting small solar modules on the top of buses and trucks that spend hours on end out on the road in the sun?

    The issue i see is with grid management- will this solution exacerbate the duck curve problem in times of over generation? I think that for this to reach scale, we need to constantly think of storage at scale as well.


  3. This is a great way to encourage people to be healthier – getting on their bikes – and also allowing cities to be more green. By having solar panels as bike lanes, you are not only creating renewable energy but also avoiding exacerbating the heat island affect since with asphalt you are just absorbing unwanted heat and worsening the problem.


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