Installation of Canada's first 'solar sidewalk' in Canada underway at Thompson Rivers University | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Installation of Canada's first 'solar sidewalk' in Canada underway at Thompson Rivers University

Sixteen of these photovoltaic solar panels will be used to build the "solar sidewalk" at T.R.U.
July 26, 2017 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Thanks to funding through a sustainability grant, the sidewalk in front of the Sustainability Office at TRU is being transformed into an energy generating solar power system.

Dr. Michael Mehta is leading the campaign and he says the initial plan was to build a solar roadway, but they decided to start small with just a 40-foot stretch of sidewalk to see how the technology works out.

He says they are putting sixteen 80-watt modules in a series to create a 1,280-watt array with the hope it can produce around 1,300 kilowatt-hours per year. If things go according to plan, the short strip of sidewalk should be able to fully power the Sustainability Office year-round.

“They are specially encased in a polymer that has been tested to withstand a variety of extremes,” says Mehta. “A lot of engineering have gone into making it slip resistant as well.”

The technology being used in this project, known as photovoltaics, is already being used for sidewalks and roadways in Europe, according to Mehta, however this project is the first of its kind in Canada.

“The advantage of this product over what they are using in Europe,” Mehta says, “is that these can be used as a carrier for other technologies such as fibre optic cable, LED lights, and sensors. Imagine for example driving and a sensor in your car senses there is black ice ahead.”

Mehta says it is all part of “smart road” and “smart sidewalk” infrastructure and could one day be the answer to finding forms of sustainable energy without putting so much strain on farmland to house solar arrays or wind turbines.

The installation at TRU is expected to be complete by Friday, July 29.

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