, 4:16,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 04 Apr 2013

Solar energy generation potential along national highways

Abstract

Energy generation using solar photovoltaic requires large area. As cost of the land is growing day by day, there is a strong requirement to use the available land as efficiently as possible. Here, we explored the potential of energy generation using the land above national road highways by constructing a roof structure. This space can contribute to the energy generation without extra cost for the land. It also results in energy efficiency, for example, improved vehicle movement and minimum energy for air conditioning of vehicles. Additionally, it also helps in minimum road repairs and longer vehicle tire life due to the effect of sun shade. Thus, the expenditure for wear and tear for road repairs is reduced considerably. From our modelling study, it is observed that the Ahmedabad-Rajkot highway can generate 104 MW of electricity (163 GWh of annual energy generation) and the Ahmedabad-Vadodara highway space can generate 61 MW of electricity (96 GWh of annual energy generation) for single-layer solar panels. If there are two layers of solar panels one over the other, the annual energy generation of the same highways, Ahmedabad-Rajkot and Ahmedabad-Vadodara, can be increased to 229 GWh and 140 GWh, respectively. If our concept is implemented throughout India, it not only increases the power generation to more than a few gigawatts of electricity but also has other various fringe benefits including longer road life, employment generation, reduced CO2 emission in environment, etc.