The first solar roof on German autobahns

The first autobahn solar roof is on the A81 - but is not yet convincing.  (Source: Federal Highway Research Institute)

The first autobahn solar roof is on the A81 – but is not yet convincing. (Source: Federal Highway Research Institute)

A few weeks ago, a pilot project was inaugurated on the A81 between Singen and Stuttgart: This is the first solar roof in Germany to be built over a motorway.

The project, financed by the three neighboring countries of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, is located at the Hegau-Ost motorway service area and includes a solar area of ​​12 x 14 meters placed on a steel structure 5.5 meters high.

This comparatively simple scaffold is intended to be the starting signal for a nationwide project in which the approximately 13,000 kilometers of the German motorway network are to be used as efficiently as possible to generate electricity.

Enormous potential still unused

Transport Minister Dr. Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke of one at the inauguration enormous potentialwhich is to be used consistently and quickly, as the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport announced in a press release.

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As reported by the Solarserver portal, for the time being there is only potential and not great added value. First, in the coming year in a scientifically supported operating phase be tested how this generation works under real conditions.

The institutes Fraunhofer ISE, Forster FF and the Austrian Institute for Technology are responsible for these investigations and tests.

The expectations are around 40,000 kilowatt hours per year, which the solar system at the Hegau-Ost service area should produce.

This value would be sufficient for up to ten four-person households.

The yield of the German pilot project is correspondingly small, especially when compared to the Swiss equivalent, which also includes wind power in addition to solar energy.

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In the canton of Valais, 1.6 kilometers of the A9 will be covered; In addition, a further 2.5 kilometers on the A4 in the canton of Zurich are to be equipped with the solar/wind combination.

The yield here is a full 128 gigawatt hours – in total, up to 32,000 three-person households can be supplied with electricity every year.

How do you rate the roofing of motorways with solar panels? Is this a real alternative to energy production; especially in environments where no wind turbines can/may not be built? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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