What: Solar Noise Barriers (SONOB)
Where: ’s Hertogenbosch
Who: Heijmans
Since: 2014
Source: Heijmans

Solar Noise Barriers

Along the Dutch highways you can find about 5 million square meters of noise barriers, often at non shaded locations and close to a power grid. The barriers are meant to limit noise, but they can also be used to produce solar energy.

Under the name SONOB, Heijmans started in 2014 in a consortium with companies and research institutions to launch a project in which an innovative modular solar noise barrier is developed and tested in practice.

The practice test

The two sound barriers used in practice stand along the A2 highway near Den Bosch. The barriers are each 5 meters wide and 4.5 meters high and contain of different solar cells and panels. For one year, research is done into ways to generate electricity with solar cells integrated into noise barriers along highways and railways. Due to the fact that the test is carried out in the public space, the development is accelerated, and delivers these valuable results that can not be obtained in a laboratory.

The first results show that 1 km of power-generating noise barriers generate enough electricity to power 50 households for a year of electricity, or to let an electric car run 900,000 kilometers.