The UK still ranks close to the bottom of the European Union in its use of renewables. In 2014, it used fossil fuels to produce more than 60 percent of its electricity, half again as much as the E.U. average. The Conservative government plans an 87 percent reduction in subsidies for solar power despite promising after the May election to “unleash a new solar revolution”. Washington Post
A 70 metre test track in Amsterdam embedded with solar panels has generated more than 3000kwh, enough to power a house for a whole year. The result is much better than expected.
The road is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, encased within concrete and with a translucent layer of tempered glass overlaid. The top layer is dirt-repellent to guarantee maximum exposure to sunlight by keeping the surface clean.
The solar panels are connected to smart meters, which optimise their output and feed the electricity either to street lighting or to the grid.
So far, approximately 150,000 cyclists have ridden over the road and, if trials go well, the companies working on the project are thinking of developing solar panels that could withstand large buses and vehicles.
There is a similar initiative in the US, the Solar Roadways project.