Solar panels on roads and tunnels at half light to lower the electricity bill


roads illuminated by led bulbsintelligent systems that light according to the presence of movement or “solar gardens”. These are some of the innovative proposals that the Government has already launched in its bid to deal with the energy crisiswhich involves modernizing the network made up of thousands of kilometers of roads that cover the entire Spanish territory.

All this is part of the new EEnergy Efficiency Strategy of the State Highway Network presented this Monday by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma), which directs Rachel Sanchez. A project supported by a budget of 510 million euroswhich has among its objectives to renew its lighting system, reduce energy demand by half and cut its maintenance costs within a period of six years between 2022 and 2028.

The Spanish road network managed by Mitma is made up of a total of 26,466 kilometers illuminated by a lighting system that consumes 145 million kWh per year. Amortizing this energy expenditure supposes an annual bill for the State of €30 million, of which 75% comes from lighting the tunnels and the rest from lighting the open-air sections. Here lies the purpose of the plan, which is none other than to lower this high bill.

Among the lines of action contemplated by the energy efficiency project orchestrated by the Ministry, is the replacement of the current lights that work with high-pressure sodium vapor for light bulbs with LED technology (at half light). The change is intended to save between 30 and 40%, which can reach up to 70% with the implementation of intelligent systems to regulate lighting depending on the presence of vehicles or pedestrians.

The plan, which is already in operation, contains a list of innovative proposals such as the installation of solar panels in road maintenance centers and the start-up of a novel pilot experience, which consists of implementing solar farms to self-supply the tunnels as the “false” corridor located in the Murcian town of Alcantarilla. Later, the Ministry also studies rationalize electrical power hiredwith the aim of reducing consumption by up to 10% and promoting the use of “zero emission” vehicles.

The DGC leads by example

In this line, the General Directorate of Roads (DGC) wants to lead by example and modernize its fleet. a parquet of more than 600 own vehicles made up of passenger cars, machinery, vans, snow plows and trucks, which it intends to adapt to hybrid or electric technology. Although more than half of passenger cars (60%) already have the “eco” label, the DGC intends to reach 100% in the coming years.

According to the Ministry, the project that it expects employ 7,650 workers, expects to achieve energy savings equivalent to that consumed by 65,000 homes. They also highlight that the reduction in emissions is comparable to that generated by 30,000 vehicles in a year and the planting of 3.5 million trees.


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