Massachusetts could be the first to install the world’s first solar energy roadside sound barrier,, Energy News Network reported. Designed by a local company called Ko-Solar, this innovative system will replace boring old plain barrier panels with solar ones.
The company specializes in installing panels in less obvious places such as industrial areas, parking lots, etc., so this application would be the perfect addition to their repertoire. If all goes according to plan, Interstate 95 in the Boston area could get an interesting facelift with renewables very soon.
For this purpose, Ko-Solar is working on a pilot project s The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to install solar panels on a section of half a mile of sound barriers on the Interstate. This will be achieved by attaching a metal grid to the sides of about 160 existing concrete sound barriers on the south side of I-95.
“If this is successful, it opens the door to many more sites.” said Mohamed Sidiki, partner in Ko-Solar, the company developing the project with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. “Why don’t we just adapt what we already have and modernize these existing structures?” Most countries have sound barriers. “
The grille will not only mount the panels to the sound barriers, but will allow them to be angled to maximize solar capture during the day. The panels will be mounted on the roadside surface of the barrier.
Ownership of the installation will be given to Solect Solar, and MassDOT will buy any energy generated by the panels of a few cents per kilowatt-hour cheaper than the basic utility tariff.
This innovative pilot project is expected to be able to generate about 800 megawatt hours of energy each year. Not bad for what is usually wasted space. It should also be enough to power 100 homes.
However, the project has some potential pitfalls. The solar sound barrier installation will be closely monitored by the state to ensure that the metal grilles do not affect the structural integrity of the sound barriers.
They also want to know how local weather may or may not affect sound barriers. It is also important to find out if the panels can introduce a potential glare risk for drivers.
This interesting pilot project is part of a larger one Massachusetts Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART).. This program offers incentives for housing and commercial solar projects throughout the Massachusetts area.
“The installation meets the requirements for an additional 6 cents per kilowatt hour according to a provision that gives impetus to projects built on an area also used for transport purposes. In September, the plan also received a $ 345,000 grant from the State Department of Energy as part of a program that helps government agencies and colleges pursue clean energy projects, ”he explains. Energy News Network.
This interesting project will be the first of its kind in the United States and is expected to be operational sometime in the spring of 2022.