Rijkswaterstaat (the executive body of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) has developed a sustainable barrier that reduces traffic noise while generating electricity at the same time. The innovative barrier on the eastern side of the A50 highway in Uden consists of solar panels that generate green power on both the front and rear sides. The Solar Highways project has received a LIFE grant of around €1.4 million from the European Commission. Rijkswaterstaat is carrying out this project with partners ECN part of TNO and SEAC. Heijmans started to construct the 400-metre-long screen in the summer of 2018. The first green electricity was generated on Thursday 6 December 2018.
Now that Solar Highways is generating green power and is connected to the grid, the energy output of the solar noise barrier will be accurately measured for 18 months. The results will be used to make a good estimate of the maintenance needs, energy performance and financial returns of possible solar noise barriers in the future. It is expected that Solar Highways will be able to supply local green electricity to around 40 to 60 households.
This project is made possible in part thanks to LIFE+ financing from the European Union.