Frequently asked questions
1. Is the surface slippery, especially when wet?
No, the surface may be made of glass, but it is not slippery. The skid-resistance is similar to the value of most standard road surfacing.
2. What is the impact of dirt on the surface?
Dirt may reduce the electricity generation as is known from normal roof installations. The removal of dirt is what really matters. SOLMOVE modules use two different ways of cleaning: First of all, cleaning vehicles can drive over and clean the modules, as is being done with conventional foot paths and road ways. The second way dirt can be cleaned away resides in two special chemical properties of the modules: The photocatalytic effect and the hydrophobicity of the glass surface, by doping the glass surface with nano-particles, support self-cleaning. In other words: If it is raining, the road will be cleaned.
3. Will the surface become dull under heavy moving loads?
Normal glass is grated dull by dirt and stones, allowing less light to transmit the glass. This effect is different for SOLMOVE modules. The special surface structure prevents the glass from becoming dull.
4. How will salt and grit affect the surface?
Salt disintegrates and reduces the freezing-point without damaging the surface. Grit, on the other hand, may scratch the module surface, but not in the areas most important for light transmission. An alternative to salt and grit are organic corn cob granules that do not scratch the surface. They are also biodegradable and can be bought at no additional cost, compared to salt or grit.
5. Will snow-ploughs damage the roadway?
No. The bottom edge of the snow shovel is not made of metal, as is often assumed, but of synthetic materials, which do not damage the surface.
6. What happens in case of an accident?
The surface is made of safety glass that breaks into small fragments upon destruction, as do windshields. There is no danger from electric shocks, as the voltage and currents are kept low in the modules and are aggregated at the edge of the road, so as to be isolated adequately.
7. How much electricity is generated by the road?
One square meter generates around 100 watts of electric power. This equates to an annual energy generation of about 100 kWh per square meter in Germany. An area of 33 square meters suffices to meet an average household’s energy consumption. Alternatively, the energy generated from this area could fuel an e-vehicle for 20.000 km.
8. How does SOLMOVE differentiate from other producers?
There are currently three more actors established in this market segment: Solar Roadways from the US, Wattway from France and SolaRoad from the Netherlands.
Three properties differentiate SOLMOVE from the other actors:
First of all, different from the bulky modules of Solar Roadways, the heavy concrete shells of Solarroad or the thin modules of Wattway, the SOLMOVE “solar-carpet” can be rolled out on existing surfaces and ideally adapt to the ground underneath. The process is fast, flexible and reduces traffic obstructions and costs. Unlike the existing solutions, the road does not need to be torn up.
A second unique property is the recycling capability of SOLMOVE modules. The panels of the solar-carpet can be taken off, a bit like a hook-and-loop fastener, rolled up and be transferred into the established recycling process for solar panels. The other competitive constructs rely on an individual dismantling process.
The final distinction resides in the surface. The new glass layer reduces shading because of abrasion and dirt to the extent that the electricity yield is barely affected.
9. What has to be considered when selecting an area?
All non-permanently shaded, fortified areas are in principal suitable for the use of horizontal photovoltaics. If you have a specific area in mind we are able to conduct a surface analysis to determine where exactly the module-efficiency would be greatest. Attention should be paid to roads being at least one and up to ten meters wide. The length can be varied. One square meter generates approximately 100 Watts, equating to an annual electricity yield of roughly 100 kWh.
10. Which feed-in options are available for horizontal photovoltaics?
You can use the generated electricity for personal consumption or feed it, according to the currently relevant pricing conditions, into the public grid.
To learn more about the feed-in payment, as discussed in the German energy law (EEG) click here.
11. How will the eduction of surface water be realized?
There are two different formats of SOLMOVE modules. One format is sealed, meaning the ridges between the modules are closed and the water is educted at the edge of the road. The ridges of the second format are left open for the water to seep away between the modules.
For the self-cleaning it is favorable to use the sealed ridges.
12. Could bicycle tires with spikes do damage to the surface?
So far there has been no endurance test considering whether spikes could damage the modules. The module surface is designed to allow for small damages without compromising the efficiency.
13. How large is the dazzling effect when the sun is low or under wet conditions?
The dazzling effect is comparable to conventional road surfacing.