1) Sustainability Problem
Energy: Urban energy consumption is a major contributor to global emissions, and so cities need to convert more of their energy grid over to renewable sources. Additionally, the transportation sector is also one of the largest contributors to emissions. Cities need to find more renewable energy sources for their grid overall and incentivize alternative forms of transportation other than cars.
2) Technology Solution
The development of a bike path covered by solar panels offers myriad benefits to cyclists. On the energy side, the PV panels offer lighting at night, can supply charging stations for e-bikes or other devices, and then can provide excess clean energy to the grid. For cyclists and pedestrians, this can provide them additional designated pathways with which to travel in a carbon neutral way, provides coverage in inclement weather, and the lighting can help with safety concerns for night travel. Overall, this is a really innovative approach to building on top of existing infrastructure in a way that offers many additional benefits.
A number of stakeholders will need to be engaged to drive this project forward:
- City governance
- Transportation groups
- Grid oversight
In order to roll out this program one would need to:
- Campaign the project to understand demand and ideal locations
- Align with stakeholders on the location, budget, alternative paths during construction periods, and supplemental amenities and their required infrastructure (charging stations, etc.)
- Work with the city and construction companies to build the bike path (if it is a net new path) and the technology above it