University creates "world's first walkable solar panel pathway"
By Ben Coxworth
October 9, 2013
We typically see photovoltaic panels up on roofs, as they're broad, open surfaces that receive a lot of sunlight. You know what else spends a lot of time in the scorching sun, though? Sidewalks. With that in mind, a team at Washington DC's The George Washington University has created what is claimed to be "the first walkable solar-paneled pathway in the world."
The 100 sq ft (9.3 sq m) rectangular Solar Walk was made using walkable PV floor panels manufactured by Spanish tech company Onyx Solar. Designed to be walked on, each solar energy-harvesting panel has an anti-slip surface and can support a load of up to 400 kg (882 lb).
The path, designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology, incorporates 27 of the translucent panels which together have a peak capacity of 400 watts. That's enough to illuminate an array of 450 LEDs that light the pathway at night, shining up through the panels from beneath. It also includes a trellis that hosts additional solar panels on top.
Studio39 Landscape Architecture built the Solar Walk, which can be found on the George Washington's Virginia Science and Technology Campus.