SONOB Installation on Dutch Highways (IIPV)

The Netherlands is expanding a test of solar panel sound barriers (SONOB) as part of a project replacing currently installed sound barriers. The usage of Infrastructure Integrated Photovoltaics (IIPV) (Also known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)) is being used in the Tesla Solar Roof, solar windows, and many more locations worldwide. 

SONOB Trial in Holland – Phase 2

SONOB Solar Highway Netherlands Heijmans Van Campen Bayards
SONOB Solar Highway in the Netherlands (source: vancampenbayards.com)

Electrek are reporting that, following a successful 2014 trial in Hertogenbosch of the technology, a new project will commence construction early next year. They plan to connect to the grid later in 2018. The 68 discrete sound barriers will be five metres high and four metres wide along a 400 metre stretch of highway. This will make Solar Highways the largest project in Europe using integrated solar cells in noise barriers to generate power whilst also stopping noise pollution in the surrounding neighbourhood. 

The project will be undertaken by Heijmans in conjunction with Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment), Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and the Solar Energy Application Centre (SEAC) – and the location of it is next to the A50 at Uden. Heijmans will be collaborating on the construction with Scheuten, Van Campen Bayards and Libra Energy.

SONOB Technology

The 2014 project explored the efficiacy of two disparate methods – semi-transparent crystalline silicon-based solar noise barriers, and semi-transparent coloured plates which used solar concentrator technology. According to SEAC, after key learnings in the 2014 trials were utilised, a SONOB ‘living lab’ was installed in Den Bosch which adds extra functionality to improve soundproofing, scalability, noise barrier requirements, semi-transparency, and so on. 

The new barriers, facing north/south and east/west, are equipped with two Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSC) with c-Si and GaAs cells and two panels with mono and bi-facial c-Si cells. The goal is to create a ‘breakthrough modular solar noise barrier concept’ that could be rolled out countrywide (and farther!). 

We’ll wait for results on this and also be sure to report on any new IIPV/BIPV installations coming up in the future to monitor how this exciting technology is progressing! 

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