Solar-paneled Sidewalk

Walkable Solar Panels

The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., has completed the first walkable solar-paneled sidewalk in the world. Located on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, the landscaped pedestrian pathway boasts a solar-powered trellis and 27 slip-resistant semi-transparent walkable panels with photovoltaic technology that converts sunlight into electricity. The walkable solar panels are an extension of the public sidewalk between Exploration and Innovation Halls at the intersection of GW Boulevard and University Drive.

The walkable panels have a combined average of 400-watt peak capacity,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.

In addition to the walkable solar panels, the Solar Walk includes a solar-powered trellis designed by Studio39 Landscape Architecture, Alexandria, Va. The trellis was installed at the end of the sidewalk to create energy that feeds back to Innovation Hall.

Onyx Solar, a company based in Spain, designed the walkable panels. The company is known internationally for designing and manufacturing photovoltaic materials that generate electricity from the sun while providing thermal and acoustic insulation and ultraviolet and infrared filters.

“We are excited to explore the potential of this newly patented product and participate with Onyx in its goal of furthering unique photovoltaic technologies,” says Eric Selbst, George Washington University’s senior land use planner.

GW Campus Planning began working with Onyx in the summer of 2011 after discussions about the design with Studio39, a company that GW contracted to construct the pedestrian walkway between Innovation and Exploration Halls and the solar-powered trellis.

“This project has proven to be an exciting example of the new innovation
being designed and integrated into our university,” notes GW Construction
Project Manager Nancy Balph.

PHOTOS: Jessica McConnell Burt / George Washington University

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