Japanese Firm Testing Solar Panel-embedded Road Surface

2019/07/24 05:57
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Test conducted by laying 20 modules

Nippo Corp (a major construction company) and Mirai-Labo Co Ltd (Hachioji City, Tokyo) co-developed a pavement system embedded with solar cells.

The system was made by covering thin-film silicon (amorphous silicon) solar cells with a transparent plastic plate. Nippo aims to commercialize the system by 2022.

The system was installed in an area of about 20m2 on the premises of Nippo General Technology Center on a trial basis in November 2018. And the durability, power generation performance, etc have been tested.

The newly-developed module (panel) has a structure that protects film-like thin-film silicon (Si) solar cells with a transparent high-strength plastic plate. And it measures 1 x 1m. On an asphalt pavement, 20 units of the module were fixed by using resin mortar. The system generates about 3kWh of electricity per year, according to Nippo.

The "solar power generation pavement" being tested (source: Nippo)

According to Nippo, a system that consumes electricity generated on a road surface in house (as an independent power source) instead of transferring it to the grid of a power company is promising. So, in the verification test, the company also installed a storage battery system, employing a mechanism that stores electricity generated during daylight hours in a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery with a capacity of 4kWh and uses it to power LED lamps for illuminating the road surface at night.

The system is used to illuminate the road surface with LED lamps at night. Dividing lines and a stop line were illuminated. (source: Nippo)

The storage battery system incorporates a compact, portable battery. (source: Nippo)

The introduced storage battery system is compact and portable. It can be carried to a shelter, etc at the time of disaster for charging, for example, mobile phones.