The 100 square foot area of pavement is called the “Solar Walk” and converts solar radiation into electricity via the use of semiconductors. The pavement includes 27 slip-resistant, semi-translucent panels that create a combined average of 400 watts, or enough energy to power 450 LED pathway lights below the panels.
Onyx Solar, a building integrated photovoltaics specialist from Spain, designed the semi-translucent panels, which look like smoked acrylic sheets. The walkable solar panels are integrated as a small section of the public sidewalk that sits flush with the surrounding cement. The Solar Walk spans a short distance between the Exploration and Innovation Halls at the intersection of George Washington Boulevard and University Drive. The walkway also connects to a solar-powered trellis designed by Studio39 Landscape Architecture, which creates energy that feeds back into the University’s Innovation Hall building.
“The Solar Walk is a great example of George Washington University’s commitment to sustainability and a reflection of the university’s forward-thinking mentality,” said Eric Selbst, senior land use planner. “With an ever-increasing need for alternative energy solutions, it is critical to foster new trends such as this in building sustainable technologies. We are very excited about this project and proud to be a trailblazer in the development of new methods in sustainability.”
This Photovoltaic pavement will soon be able to be integrated into a range of projects and environments. It combines passive elements (avoided CO2 emissions) with active elements (power generation) to greatly reduce the environmental impact of its surrounds. Equally important is the appealing design of this solution, offering a range of configuration possibilities in colour (or combination of colours) and the chance to use an LED backlit system to enhance the aesthetic value.