Solar Sidewalk — A World First

As part of the Solar Walk project, a photovoltaic solar sidewalk has been constructed at the Virginia Science Technology Campus of George Washington University (GWU/GW).

This BIPV project, according to GWU, is only 100 square feet, but it still qualifies as a step towards solar walkways. The concept still has to be tested thoroughly, of course — the designers of this walkway will be evaluating how walkway performs under various real-world conditions.

“The solar sidewalk is a great example of GW’s commitment to innovation in design and sustainability and will be a reference for others to follow,” said Onyx Solar Vice President of Business Development Diego Cuevas.

Solar Walk
Solar Sidewalk.
Image Credit: GWU





This walkway can generate 400 watts of power (maximum) from 27 semi-transparent, slip-resistant, glass solar panels. That is enough to power the 450 LED lights underneath the panels. The solar walkway is designed to withstand 882 pounds (400 kg) of weight, according to Onyx Solar.

“We are excited to explore the potential of this newly patented product and participate with Onyx in its goal of furthering unique photovoltaic technologies,” said GW Senior Land Use Planner Eric Selbst

According to SolarReviews: “The PV-powered trellis along the Solar Walk was completed in 2012 and was designed by Studio39 Landscape Architecture. The solar electricity generated by the PV array on the trellis is fed to GWU’s Innovation Hall. The architecture firm said it was the first trellis in a new master plan at the campus that would reduce the amount en/ergy that the campus consumes from the grid.”

The solar modules are raised off the ground to avoid issues with standing water.

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About the Author

Nicholas Brown writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements.

He has a keen interest in electricity generation, , energy efficiency, HVAC-R, energy storage, and science overall. His website is: Kompulsa.com.