The first solar panel soundproof wall in the US

Ko-Solar Company plans to install solar panels on Interstate 95 roadside soundproof walls, expected to produce enough electricity for 100 homes.

Soundproof wall.  Photo: Ko-Solar

Soundproof walls along the road can be used to produce solar power. Photo: Ko-Solar

Massachusetts may become the first state in the US to install solar panels on roadside acoustic walls, Interesting Engineering on 6/11 reported. This innovative system was designed by Ko-Solar, a local company. The project will launch in the spring of 2022.

Before that, Ko-Solar used to only install solar panels in places like industrial parks and parking lots. So the new project will be a unique addition. If all goes according to plan, Interstate 95, Boston, will soon be upgraded with renewable energy.

Ko-Solar is developing a pilot project with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to upgrade a 0.8-kilometer stretch of 160-walled acoustic retaining wall on Interstate 95. Specifically, the project team will Attach metal brackets to the side of these panels to install solar cells.

“If successful, the project will create momentum for many other places to adopt similar measures. Why don’t we adjust the existing structures and upgrade them? Most states in the US have soundproof walls.” , said Mohammed Siddiqui, employee at Ko-Solar.

The metal rack not only helps to mount the solar cell to the acoustic wall, but also to find the right angle to maximize the energy captured during the day. The panels are expected to be installed on the side adjacent to the road surface. MassDOT will buy back the electricity they produce. The project is estimated to generate around 800 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power 100 homes.

However, the project may have some disadvantages. The installation of solar panels for acoustic retaining walls will be closely monitored by the authorities to ensure that the metal rack does not affect the structural integrity of the wall. Authorities also want to find out how the local weather affects them and whether the panels could dazzle drivers.

Thu Thao (Follow Interesting Engineering)

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