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Caltrans Looking to the Sun for Transportation

Date: March 29, 2016
District: Headquarters
Contact: Tamie McGowen
Phone: (916) 657-5060

SACRAMENTO - California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Malcolm Dougherty today signed a letter of intent with the Province of Noord-Holland (Netherlands) Vice Governor Elisabeth Post, MMC to look at sustainable options for capturing solar energy in transportation infrastructure.

Caltrans will explore the Dutch technology, known as SolaRoad1, which implements the use of solar panels in roadway projects and has been successfully implemented in a project in Krommenie, The Netherlands. The idea behind SolaRoad is that sunlight falling on the road surface is converted into electricity by concrete panels with solar cells and a translucent top layer of tempered glass. The generated electricity can be used for street lighting, traffic systems, electric vehicles and households.

"We're excited to explore the application of solar energy in Caltrans assets – everything from emergency power generation to provide self-sustaining maintenance stations to lighting signs and lamps, among others."

Malcolm Dougherty, Director, Caltrans

California and The Netherlands are leading the way for zero-emission transportation and energy innovation in terms of sales, policies and incentive programs, vehicle research and development and innovation, and education and public awareness. Both states have committed themselves to stringent climate change action programs to meet 2030 goals in terms of greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable energy generation.

In the Netherlands, The first SolaRoad project is a solar bicycle path in Krommenie in North Holland, which opened November 2014 and is being tested for three years.

Caltrans' District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura counties) will explore the Dutch technology at its maintenance rest area in Lebec along Interstate 5 in Kern County. The Dutch representatives will join Caltrans on Friday, April 1 to discuss capabilities, possibilities and information exchange.

1 The term "SolaRoad" only refers to the SolaRoad project in Krommenie, the Netherlands and the technology as developed for that project. All similar trademarks that may exist in other jurisdictions and are held by third parties are explicitly acknowledged.

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