The use of bike and cycle paths is increasingly evident in modern transportation within cities nowadays. Mobility is, in fact, changing and is increasingly directed towards sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.
With this in mind, architect Peter Kuczia has reinterpreted the typical bike path through a sustainable lens and conceptualized Solar Veloroute, a multifunctional photovoltaic pathway for bikers and pedestrians. It comprises a photovoltaic tunnel structure that serves as a solar canopy for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a public facility where commuters can enjoy lit pathways at night and charging stations for bicycles or smartphones.
The concept of these cycle paths is presented as a partially-enclosed rounded archway, built with superimposed non-reflective glass solar panels, attached to round tube steel purlins. This solar roof has a dual function: to protect cyclists and pedestrians from the sun, as well as other unfortunate weather conditions and at the same time produce electricity from the sun.
The photovoltaic system collects electricity generated by solar energy during the day, which can be used for on-site charging stations and lighting, while the surplus energy collected can be distributed for additional services. According to Kuczia, just one kilometer of Solar Veloroute structure could provide around 2000 MWh of electricity to power 750 families or provide electricity to more than 1,000 electric cars that travel 11,000 kilometers per year.
To ensure that these cycle paths also serve as educational experiences for the public, Kuczia has placed display panels and posters with information about the benefits of using solar power on a global scale.
The project has been created for districts in Switzerland and Dubai but can be adapted to any location and climatic zone. The structure is completely adjustable, and the number of rows of panels, the distance between modules, as well as their inclination can be flexibly altered to respond to local conditions.