George Washington University has created a 100 square-foot (0.3 square-metre) walkable solar-paneled sidewalk made of photovoltaic floor panels. Situated on the Virgina Science and Technology campus, Solar Walk converts sunlight into electricity, and uses the energy to power the LEDs around the path at night for students.
The project uses walkable PV floor panels manufactured by a Spanish tech company named Onyx Solar. Purposely designed to be walked on, each solar energy-harvesting panel has an anti-slip surface and can hold a weight of up to 400 kg (882 lb).
The panels have been designed to attain a combined average of 400-watt peak capacity (Wp), which is the maximum amount of power that can be produced under perfect conditions. This is enough energy to power 450 LED pathway lights below the panels.
The Solar Walk also includes a solar-powered trellis which was designed by Studio39 Landscape Architecture. It was installed at the end of the sidewalk to create energy that feeds back to the Innovation Hall which is used for research and development in technologies.
GW Senior Land Use Planner Eric Selbst explains, ‘GW is proud to announce that the Solar Walk which includes the first installation of walkable solar paneled sidewalk in the world. We are excited to explore the potential of this newly patented product and participate with Onyx in its goal of furthering unique photovoltaic technologies.’