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Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Solar Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/solener

Solar pavement: A new emerging technology

Azin Sadeghi Dezfooli a, Fereidoon Moghadas Nejad b,, Hamzeh Zakeri c, Sholeh Kazemifard d
Department of Civil Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Member of Amirkabir Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing Lab (Attain), Dep. of Civil and Environment Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Member of Amirkabir Renewable Energy Lab, Dep. of Chemistry, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The present work is conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using solar pavements as a sustainable energy
Received 22 November 2016 producer to supply electrical energy. For this purpose, we prepared two prototypes entitled as solar
Received in revised form 21 March 2017 panel (solar cell embedded in rubber and Plexiglas) and solar pavement (solar cell embedded between
Accepted 8 April 2017
two porous rubber layers) which both are capable of harvesting and converting the solar energy into pho-
tovoltaic cells. In this work, components of the new solar pavements were introduced. These two
designed pavements were evaluated in terms of supply energy, surface safety movement, and structural
performance. The British Pendulum Tester (BPT) and Universal Test Machine (UTM) were used for mea-
Solar pavement
Power conversion efficiency
suring surface frictional properties and determining the dynamic property of solar pavement, respec-
Photovoltaic cell tively. Moreover, the drainage test was investigated for both prototypes. To survey the feasibility of
British Pendulum Test solar pavement to achieve the electrical energy through solar cells, I-V (current-voltage) measurements
Universal test machine were carried out to record the current and voltages of the solar cells embedded in the pavement under
Drainage test different conditions and determine their power conversion efficiency (PCE). The BPT values for solar panel
and solar pavement under the wet condition were measured as 42 and 47.8, respectively. Also, the drai-
nage test showed that the average volumetric flow rates of solar panel and solar pavement are 0.018 and
0.042 L/s, respectively. Moreover, the value of drainage test was 0.0224 L/s in asphalt pavement. The solar
pavement in comparison to solar panel showed a higher PCE value of 5.336%. Besides, based on the UTM
results, the flow number (FN) is 1002 with 49 mm deformation for solar panel and 1260 with 65 mm
deformation for solar pavement. The UTM results also showed that solar pavement improves rutting per-
formance in comparison with a solar panel. Thus, adding a new layer of the solar cell and rubber solar
pavement could enhance strength parameters and electricity generation for transportation application.
2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Although non-renewable fossil fuels supply 80% of the require-

ments of energy, this type of energy is about to be exhausted.
Pavement is one the main components of roads, as the essential Therefore, it is required to develop technologies for the application
global transportation infrastructures, that can potentially generate of renewable resources (Wang et al., 2006). Among the renewable
a substantial amount of energy (Nik et al., 2016). Also, energy issue energy resources, solar energy is an abundant and maybe eternally
has been a concern for researchers and industries. In this regard, renewable energy source that generates 1027 KW energy from the
the efficient use of renewable energy is considered the key to solv- sunshine. Solar energy can be harnessed by the implementation of
ing the energy problem and promoting the sustainable develop- solar heating, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electricity, solar
ment of the society. Using renewable energy resources has architecture, and artificial photosynthesis (Liu et al., 2014).
become one of the essential steps to achieve sustainable develop- Todays, solar energy use has been improved by different tech-
ment. As a result, many countries have issued some policies to nologies and many projects have been carried out to enhance the
encourage the utilization of renewable energy in various sectors efficiency of all energy-producing applications (Kaan et al.,
(Yuan et al., 2013). 2015; Fathabadi, 2015; Ferreira et al., 2015), including energy stor-
age in the form of solar, wind, and thermal energies (Zheng et al.,
2015; Rahimi et al., 2015). Numerical and experimental studies
Corresponding author. have been carried out on analysis, modeling, and simulation of
E-mail addresses: sadeqi_azin@yahoo.com (A.S. Dezfooli), moghadas@aut.ac.ir solar energy to accumulate performance and management on the
(F.M. Nejad), h-zakeri@aut.ac.ir (H. Zakeri), sh.kazemifard@aut.ac.ir (S. Kazemifard).

0038-092X/ 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284 273

photovoltaic system (Shah et al., 2015; Reyes et al., 2015; illustrate the solar panel as a solar road. George Washington
Masiukiewicz and Anweiler, 2015). Research studies showed an University has made a solar road with Onyx glass for a pathway
exponential growth of cumulative nameplate capacity in watt DC (George Washington University website).
(watt-peak since 19922015) has been boosted from 100 Mw in Garca and Partl (2014) are represented how to transform an
1992 to 120,000 Mw in 2015 (Rekinger and Thies, 2015). asphalt concrete pavement into a solar turbine for absorbing solar
The growing communications and development of transporta- energy from the surface of asphalt concrete. This solar turbine
tion system introduce environmental pollution; besides, a huge could be used to harvest energy and to reduce the temperature
amount of energy is needed to supply power for transportation of the pavement in summer or to increase it in winter. In order
systems. These systems have significant impacts on the environ- to achieve this purpose, air conduits were embedded in an asphalt
ment as the account for 2025% of the world energy consumption concrete, such that air could flow and be heated up in summer, or
and carbon dioxide emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from cooled down in winter.
transportation are increasing at a faster rate than any other Zhou et al. (2015) are studied the effectiveness of pavement solar
energy-using sector. Road transportation is also a major contribu- energy system in an experimental study. In this research, a small-
tor to local air pollution and smog (Samberg et al., 2011). There- scale pilot project was built for the pavement-solar energy utiliza-
fore, attention to problems such as environmental pollution, tion. The results of their work showed solar pavement can saves the
indiscriminate use of energy, damage to the environment and civic energy for ice/snow removal but also mitigate associated safety risks.
transportation risks, and use of sustainable development is neces- Nasir et al. (2016) presented a solar pavement based on solar
sary. Sustainable development in the transportation system will be collectors for urban applications. This study expanded the investi-
feasible through managing the energy systems. One of the most gation of optimizing the solar pavement collector system based on
important factors for urban management around the world is the four tested parameters (pipe diameter, pipe depth, water velocity,
correlation between sustainable development and operating and water temperature) and results showed saving energy by solar
renewable resources around the world. collectors.
Road surfaces absorb a great deal of solar radiation during sum- Efthymiou et al. (2016) developed a photovoltaic pavement sys-
mer, approximately up to 40 MJ/m2 per a day, over the course of a tem for heat island mitigation. The results were checked by a the-
road, leading to high temperatures in the pavement structure oretical mathematical model. The whole measuring campaign
(Zhou et al., 2013; Hall et al., 2011). Therefore, pavement as an indicated that lower temperatures were measured on the PV pave-
infrastructure of transportation and roads as the main artery can ment than those measured on the other two materials (soil,
play an important role in achieving sustainable development in asphalt). The numerical predictions are compared with the exper-
societies for reducing pollution and sustainable energy imental data where similar results are founded. The results showed
consumption. photovoltaic cells saved energy for pavement system.
Recently, implemental studies have been carried out to achieve Chiarelli et al. (2017) presented a research about construction
green roads, such as bituminous asphalt containing waste material and configuration of convection-powered asphalt solar collectors
and solar asphalt to harvest sun energy and generate heat on the for the reduction of urban temperatures. In this research, an anal-
surface. In this respect, scientists believe that it is possible to har- ysis of a convection-powered asphalt solar collector prototype is
vest energy from sunlight on the roads and convert it into electrical approached by the means of experimental trials and computational
energy and heat. The focus of previous works on solar usage in fluid dynamics (CFD). The results obtained are showed that for an
roads for gaining heat energy is to use asphalt pavement as a solar overall optimal performance, pipes should be installed in a single
thermal collector. The first idea of the asphalt solar collector dates row under the pavement wearing course. This allowed a surface
back to 1979 (Lund, 2005). One of the early applications of asphalt temperature reduction of up to 5.5 C in the pavement prototype
solar collector as a snow-melting system is the Swiss system studied and the highest absorbed energy. In addition, the CFD sim-
SERSO. Gaia Snow-Melting System, similar to SERSO, was an auto- ulations showed that care has to be put in finding the optimal
matically operating system installed in 1995 in Ninohe, Japan (Gao shape and size for the air collection chamber, as they significantly
et al., 2010; Bobes-Jesus et al., 2013). There are several studies on influence the behavior of the system.
implementation of asphalt solar collectors as snow melting sys- Therefore, the idea of constructing solar pavement is a novel
tems and a mathematical model for predicting the performance field of civil engineering that requires more studies and technolog-
of this smart pavement based on modeling. Also, laboratory ical advancements. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the fea-
researches done on the behavior of pavement as a solar collector, sibility of implementing solar roads as a sustainable energy.
heat analysis, heat transfer (Tu et al., 2010; Shaopeng et al., In this study, a novel design of energy generator pavement is
2011; Larsson and Thelandersson, 2011). introduced. The proposed system works based on the implementa-
Conversion of solar energy radiated on the surface of the road is tion of layers consisting of solar cells and an electrical system on
a desirable technique to reduce environmental pollution; and sup- the asphalt layer. This sustainable development method can cover
ply energy requirements of variable message signs (VMS), road both electrical energy requirements and safety in the roads. The
lightening, and traffic signal (Donaghy and Schintler, 1998). general design of solar pavement consists of three layers. The first
Recently, some surveys have been exclusively conducted on solar layer, on which vehicles could drive, is a transparent and porous
roads. Brusaw (2012) in Idaho, U.S., designed an electrical system surface that passes the sunlight. The second layer consists of solar
with added light emitting diodes (LEDs) for road lines that lighted cells, an electrical system, connections, and a base to transfer the
up the road for safer driving at night. These researchers also load to asphalt. These layers are incorporated and placed on the
designed a heating element on the surface (like the defrosting wire asphalt. Finally, the samples are compared together and the feasi-
in the rear window of cars) to prevent snow/ice accumulation in bility of each specimen under different conditions is surveyed. Lab-
cold climates. The Solar Roadway is an intelligent highway system oratory tests include the British Pendulum Tester (BPT) for
that is equipped with a controller consisting of a microprocessor measuring surface frictional properties and Universal Test Machine
unit that activates the lights and communicates with the road pan- (UTM) for determining the dynamic property of solar pavement.
els. They extend their research to build a parking lot to melt snow Moreover, the drainage test for two prototypes is investigated in
(Brusaw, 2012). this work. To survey the feasibility of solar pavement to achieve
Northmore and Tighe (2012) at Waterloo University used the electrical energy through solar cells, current-voltage (I-V) mea-
laminated, tempered, and textured glass to boost strength and surements are carried out.
274 A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284

Based on recent works related to the present research, most of with designed electric system maintained by this rubber layer,
the recent samples cannot practically meet the requirements of and finally the surface porous layer for drainage and channeling
solar pavements, as they are merely pilot samples without ade- water and protecting the solar cells on the asphalt pavement.
quate resistance and safety. Thus, it is necessary to conduct a more The manufactured sample of solar pave model is shown in Fig. 3.
detailed survey and investigations on these structures.
This research evaluates two ideas of solar pavement based on
different transparent layers in two designed and constructed pro- 4. Experimental works and methodology
totypes. In Section 2, Problem statement is explained and materials
and sample are defined by detailed characteristics in Section 3. The structure of the pavement surface with the load applied
Section 4 presents experimental works including the test methods directly on it should be designed and be subject to feasibility stud-
and methodology of this research. Results and discussion with all ies. Generally, the solar road will be discussed from two perspec-
details are presented in Section 5. Finally, concluding remarks tives: (1) electrical systems and (2) structural systems. Two
and future works are presented in Section 6. prototypes are constructed in this work based on solar cell design-
ing and its implementation in the pavement.
The methodology of this research includes a feasibility study,
2. Problem statement choosing the material, design electrical and structural, construc-
tion of prototypes, laboratory tests, results and discussion, and a
In order to supply electrical energy by applying solar cells from comparative analysis of the prototypes based on electrical, resis-
the pavement, several methods have been proposed. Evaluating tance potential, skid resistance, and drainage aspects.
performance of pavement (supply energy, surface safety move-
ment, and structural performance) is essential in the assessment
of the proposed system. However, at this time no framework exists 4.1. Test methods
for assessing the performance of solar pavements. Specifically, the
central point of this paper is how can we define a general frame- 4.1.1. I-V measurements
work for solar pavement assessing? the core of this paper is to For the more accurate measurements of the current-voltage in
find and answer to this question (Fig. 1). solar cells for making solar systems in asphalt samples, the sun
simulator was used. This simulator is a device that provides illumi-
nation approximately in accordance with sunlight irradiation. The
3. Materials and prototypes
device is applied to provide a controllable indoor test facility under
laboratory conditions. Sun simulators used for photovoltaic testing
Solar pavement designed in this work is composed of mechan-
are based on the (Standard IEC 60904-9 Edition 2 and ASTM E927-
ical and electrical parts. The mechanical part consists of double
10). We tested four samples of solar cells: normal cell, solar cell
wall polycarbonate sheets purchased that has a desirable specifica-
after traffic load, porous rubber covered cell (solar pavement with-
tion for surface movement. A rubber sheet, which is a mixture of
out asphalt layer), and finally transparent covered cell (solar panel
natural rubber (NR) and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is used
without asphalt layer).
in both prototypes (solar panel and solar pavement presented in
The current density-voltage (JV) characteristics of the result-
Section 2). The electrical part of the solar pavement includes a
ing solar cells were measured using a PalmSens Potentiostat/Gal-
monocrystalline solar panel. For increasing the voltage generated
vanostat under AM 1.5 illuminations with the intensity of
by solar cells, they were connected in series. Features of the solar
100 mW/cm2. All experiments were carried out at room
cells, physical and mechanical properties of double-wall polycar-
bonate sheets (transparent layer), and chemical properties of rub-
ber sheet are summarized in Tables A.1A.4 in supplementary
(Appendix), respectively. Based on results shown in Table A.3, 4.1.2. Evaluation of surface performance
the primary characteristics are ideal to use on the surface because This section describes two characteristics of surface perfor-
a transparent layer of polycarbonate is placed on the solar cell to mance of prototypes and materials of them. Two tests include Bri-
protect them from wheel load. According to Table A.4, rubber has tish pendulum tester (BPT) and Runoff and drainage are applied for
suitable strength for application in this work. leading to performance evaluation of surface of prototypes and
materials of them. In this section, the related parameters to tire,
3.1. Prototype 1: solar panel pavement, and environment condition in wet and dry surface of
prototypes are evaluated.
The resistance of the solar cell against the traffic load and also
its efficiency to convert solar photon to electricity are important Skid resistance. Skid resistance on pavement surfaces can
factors for the construction of solar roads. Therefore, in prototype affect the safety of road users and impact their travel efficiency.
1, a panel with three substructures was designed. On the top layer, The frictional behavior of asphalt is a very important parameter
for transmission of sunlight, a transparent polycarbonate sheet for safety maintenance of each type of road (Lu et al., 1971). Sur-
was used. This sheet should be rough enough to provide strength face frictional properties are considered with a British Pendulum
and obstacles of slipping, especially skid resistance criteria. The Skid Resistance Tester. The British pendulum tester (BPT) is a con-
second layer is a rubber that the solar cell is placed in it. Finally, venient device to measure friction for samples. Preparation and
aluminum is used for keeping the layers together considering its calibration of the apparatus for BPT was done according to ASTM
durability and sufficient friction resistance. Fig. 2 shows prototype E303-13. The standard temperature is 20 C for surface water in
1 that is designed in this work. the wet condition. The experiments were repeated five times and
their mean results were recorded. The methodology to test friction
3.2. Prototype 2: solar pavement is measuring the British pendulum number (BPN) for all compo-
nents of prototypes and considering two prototypes for wet and
The second solar pavement design is composed of four parts dry surface conditions. Table 1 illustrates standard values for
including an asphalt layer to withstand the loads from the surface, BPN in road design according to the transportation research labo-
two rubber layers which solar cells are embedded in, one layer ratory (TRL) (Zealand, 2000).
A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284 275

Fig. 1. Method overview. Runoff and drainage. Water reduces the contact area connection between the layers and (2) rapid evacuation of retained
between the tires of vehicles and the road surface. Besides, it brings water prevents the hydroplaning phenomenon and increases
the possibility of hydroplaning through which the driver loses full safety level (Huang, 2004).
control of the vehicle. Retained water on the road surface generally To investigate the discharge of water from pavement surfaces, it
causes problems such as hydroplaning phenomenon that decreases is required to determine the drainage of pavement surfaces via
the safety and causes pavement distress. For the solar pavement, measuring the time of different outlet volumes. The volume flow
water covering the surface is important for two reasons; (1) rapid rate is a method applied to determine the drainage using Eq. (1):
discharge of water from surface water prevents electrical Q V=t 1
276 A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284

A: solar system with 1 solar cell B: 30*45 solar panel with 6 solar cell

C: 15*45 solar panel with 3 solar cell D: solar system embedded in asphalt
Fig. 2. Prototype 1: solar panel.

A: solar pavement with 1 solar cell B: solar pavement on asphalt sample

C: Solar pavement on asphalt sample

Fig. 3. Prototype 2 (solar pavement).

where Q is the value of outlet or drainage (m3/s); V is the volume of In this study, the volume of water discharge was used to control
discharged water (m/s); and t is water discharge time (s). the pavement level of service. The volumes of water applied to the
A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284 277

Table 1 Table 3
Standard BPN for road design (Zealand, 2000). Fatigue test conditions.

Category Type of site Minimum skid Specification Condition

Temperature 68 F or 20 C
(surface wet) BPN
Confinement conditions (Load) 100 kp
A Difficult sites such as: 65 Load Dynamic
1. Roundabouts Traffic level Heavy (10 Hz)
2. Bends with radius less than 150 m on Dimension 50 * 63 * 380 mm
unrestricted roads
3. Gradients 1 in 20 or steeper of lengths
greater than 100 m
4. Approaches to traffic lights on
unrestricted roads
B Motorways, trunk and class 1 roads and 55
heavily trafficked roads in urban areas
(carrying more than 2000 vehicles per day)
C All other sites 45

Fig. 6. Preparation of prototype 1 for UTM test.

pavement are 2.0, 1.75, 1.5, 1.25, 1, 0.75, 0.5, and 0.25 L. Departure
time was measured using a micro stopwatch and a model for the
water volume versus time was extracted.
Fig. 4. Fiberglass sheet on UTM25.
4.1.3. Evaluation structural performance of pavement
Two important distresses in the pavement are rutting and fati-
Table 2 gue cracking. In this study, influences of two prototypes on pave-
UTM Test specification for rutting. ment performance were evaluated. Because of implementing the
Specification Condition solar panel and solar pavement on the asphalt layer, it was neces-
sary to carry out pavement tests. The main components for the
Confinement conditions (Load) 100 kp
Load Dynamic
mentioned two prototypes are transparent polycarbonate sheet,
Load time 1s solar cell, and rubber. Thus, they were embedded in the asphalt
Unload time 1s layer for mechanical tests. Experimental investigations were car-
Number of cycles 2000 ried out on the solar panel, solar pavement, and reference asphalt

Fig. 5. Samples preparation for creep dynamic test.

278 A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284

Table 4 Flexural bending failure. The solar system should be tough
The current values measured under different weather conditions. enough to sustain the weight of the wheeler and withstand
Weather condition Measured current (mA) repeated cycles of load and movement. The resistance of a material
Full Sun (G : 1000 W/m ) 2
40 to breaking under loading was determined using flexural bending
Overcast (G: 100 W/m2) 15 test. The flexural strength was measured using the UTM25
Night (G: 0 W/m2) 0 (Fig. 4). At constant rate conditions, stress was increased up to
G: Irradiance (W/m2 or KW/m2).
the samples failure. The sudden changes in deformation show
the flexural failure.

reference solar cell Under Load cell Rutting. Rutting is one of the most serious forms of pave-
Transparent Paved cell Perforated Rubber Paved cell ment distress, and severe rutting is a significant cause of pavement
80 failure. Rutting refers to permanent deformation of the asphalt sur-
60 face and its accumulation in the wheel paths. This phenomenon is
40 primarily the result of repeated traffic loading cycles that com-

20 monly occurs in the flexible pavement at high pavement tempera-

ture. Dynamic creep tests were carried out to determine the
-0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 resistance of permanent deformation by Universal Test Machine
(UTM). The dynamic creep test was performed according to British
Standard DD 226. Through this test, an attempt was made to com-
-60 pare the permanent deformation of pavement surface potential
due to the accumulation of permanent deformation of each proto-
Fig. 7. Current voltage changes in specimens. type under repetitive traffic loading actions (Yin and Zhang, 2010).
Test specifications are presented in Table 2.
The dynamic creep test results can be used as a measure of
Table 5 assessing the permanent deformation potential. The flow number
The solar cell performance of the prepared specimens.
obtained from dynamic creep tests is used to evaluate the deforma-
Specimen Jsc (mA) Voc (V) FF PCE (%) tion potential of samples (Yin and Zhang, 2010). The creep curve is
Reference Cell a
54 3.11 0.660 1.109 generally divided into three stages (Zhou et al., 2004) and the flow
Under Load Cell 54 3.11 0.660 1.109 number is determined by its stage 3 (Khodaii and Mehrara, 2009).
Solar Panel 39.1 3.16 0.734 0.907 Samples preparation for creep dynamic test is illustrated in Fig. 5.
Solar Pavement 24.5 3.04 0.777 0.579
A solar cell with no placing in prototypes nor under load. Fatigue. Resistance to repetitive flexural bending until the
failure was assessed according to the standard procedures for
determining the fatigue life. Through these procedures, strength
Table 6
reduction of a material under repeated loading is compared to that
BPN for all materials to manufacture two prototypes under dry and wet conditions.
of a material under a single loading. This method characterizes the
Material Wet Condition Dry Condition behavior of bituminous mixes under fatigue loading, with con-
Rubber Layer 47.8 70 trolled displacement by three-point bending using prismatic beam
Solar Cell 15.8 40.6 shaped specimens. The behavior is characterized through the
Aluminum Frame 40.6 60.4
determination of the fatigue law in terms of strain (relation
Polycarbonate Sheet 31 42.2
between strain and number of load cycles at failure) and the asso-
ciated energy law (Xue et al., 2013). Details of the test preparation,
conditioning, and conduct affect the test results. The sample is
using the universal testing machine (UTM25) for dynamic tests.
placed on two supporting pins and undergoes a three-point loading
Appendix B in supplementary data presents the specified proper-
at a constant rate until its failure. Test conditions are presented in
ties of reference bituminous asphalt pavement prepared using
Table 3.
Press Box at the laboratory.
Three points bending flexural test provides values for the flexu-
ral stress (r), flexural strain (e) and the flexural stress-strain
response of the material. Tests were carried out at 4 strain levels.
Based on the deformation in the 50th cycle, the stress and strain
have been obtained using Eqs. (2) and (3):

r 2
where F is load applied by an actuator (newton), b shows average
specimen width (m), d is average specimen height (m), and L illus-
trates support span (mm).

e 3
where e is maximum deflection at the center of the beam (m), d
shows space between inside clamps, 0.119 m, L presents the length
of the beam between outside clamps (0.357 m), and D is for the
deformation 50th load cycle. Preparation of the solar pavement
Fig. 8. BPN for the solar panel and solar pavement under wet and dry conditions. for UTM is illustrated in Fig. 6.
A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284 279

Fig. 9. (A) BPN-Temperature for solar panel, solar pavement, and asphalt, (B) BPN-Temperature model for solar panel, solar pavement, and asphalt layer.

5. Results and discussions (G: 100 W/m2), and night (G: 0 W/m2). Results are shown in
Table 4.
5.1. I-V measurements under different environmental conditions Based on the obtained result in Table 4, on a sunny day, the pho-
tovoltaic system shows a maximum current approximately 40 mA.
The current density was measured with a multimeter in However, in the absence of sunlight, the solar cell has no efficiency
weather conditions including a full sun (G: 1000 W/m2), overcast due to the generation of no electron-hole pair. On the other hand,

Fig. 10. Surface runoff for solar panel, solar pavement and asphalt pavement.
280 A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284

designed system or short circuit; and Voc is the maximum voltage

of electrical system that occurs when the current is zero, which is
also known as the open circuit voltage.
PCE Vm  Im =active area 5
where the active area is the area of working electrode which is in
contact with the electrolyte (other parts of the cell).
As shown in Table 5, the efficiency of the solar pavement is less
than that of the solar panel. Placing a solar cell in the structure of
solar panel (polycarbonate sheet) or solar pavement (between two
rubber layers) resulted in a reduction in PCE. In a solar panel, PCE
was decreased by 26% in comparison to the reference cell while for
the solar pavement this drop is about 50%. Although covering the
solar cell surface results in a reduced efficiency, to protect the elec-
trical connections and load sustainability in long-term the use of
cover layers (two wall polycarbonate sheet and rubber layers) can-
not be avoided.

Fig. 11. A stress-deformation curve for the solar panel. 5.2. Road safety investigation with British pendulum number (BPN)

Skid resistance of the road surface depends on important factors

such as material, fine and coarse texture, moisture, vehicle brakes,
and tire resistance on the surface of the road. According to ASTM
E303, to evaluate the road safety and skid resistance, due to the
presence of critical conditions for friction on wet roads, the surface
of designed road should be wet. The test was repeated 5 times for
wet conditions. Table 6 shows mean BPNs for prototypes under dry
and wet conditions. Table 6 shows that rubber has a higher friction
resistance compared to other components of prototypes.
As indicated in Table 6 BPN has a decreasing rate under the wet
conditions, where it is lower than that of dry conditions. According
to TRL, one wet rubber layer, and two layers can be used in cate-
gory C in Table 1. BPN for wet aluminum is about minimum BPN
in category C. BPN of the solar cell under wet conditions decreases
significantly when compared to dry conditions.
Table 6 indicates the results of BPN for five testing iterations.
Besides, the mean value for constructed solar panel and solar pave-
ment is presented in Fig. 8.
Fig. 12. A creep curve for the test samples; accumulated strain versus number of BPN test have errors for wet solar panel, dry solar panel, wet
load cycles. solar pavement and dry solar pavement equal to 1.71%, 1.13%,
1.52% and 1.20%, respectively.
The BPN results for the various test specimens were also plotted
Table 7
The flow number for solar panel, solar pavement, and asphalt samples. with respect to contact wet and dry surface conditions shown in
Fig. 8. According to these results, the solar pavement is a suitable
Sample Flow Number Deformation (mm * 1000) Test error (%)
sample for rainy zones based on skid resistance. Also, solar panel
Solar Panel 1002 49 2.15 shows a good resistance (BPN is up of 70) and the base asphalt
Solar pavement 1260 65 2.31
can provide enough resistance (Fig. 9A).
Asphalt (Base) 2000 0 4.76
To survey the performance of solar panel and solar pavement at
various temperatures, the British Pendulum test under wet condi-
tion was carried out for two prepared solar pavements at four tem-
on a cloudy day, the system presented current density about
peratures including 0, 5, 10 and 20 C. Fig. 9(A and B) illustrates
15 mA, with reduction about 80%, in comparison to sunny days.
BPN-temperature profiles on the solar panel, solar pavement, and
The performance of reference solar cell, solar panel, solar pave-
hot mix asphalt layer as a base support.
ment, and under load solar cell is presented in Fig. 7 and Table 5.
As illustrated in Fig. 9, skid resistance of samples increases with
As presented in Fig. 7 and Table 5, solar cell performance for ref-
increasing temperature. Reduced skid resistance at low tempera-
erence cell and under load cell (after traffic loading) shows similar
ture in a solar panel is greater than that of solar pavement. As
behavior because of the desired resistance of a solar cell against
shown in Fig. 9A, at all measured temperatures, the solar panel
traffic load. Under both conditions, open circuit voltage (Voc) and
showed a less skid resistance compared to the solar pavement.
short-circuit current (Jsc) are 3.1 V and 54 mA, respectively.
Asphalt layer showed the most values for BPN, due to the porous
Fill factor (FF) and power conversion efficiency (PCE) are calcu-
and thick surface.
lated using Eqs. (4) and (5), respectively.
In Fig. 9B, a model for BPN-Temperature behavior of solar panel,
FF Im  Vm =Jsc  Voc 4 solar pavement, and asphalt layer as a reference, is presented. As
indicated in this Figure, base asphalt as a reference, shows a linear
where Im is current at the maximum output power; Vm is voltage at performance at all temperatures with regressions of 0.987,
the maximum output power; Jsc is the maximum current of whereas this behavior for solar panel and solar pavement is
A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284 281


Inial Strain (mm*1000)

150 Pavement)
Solar pavement

Solar panel



100 1000 10000 100000
Log Nf

Fig. 13. The relation between strain and number of load cycles at the failure point.

significantly different. The solar panel with a slope of 0.994 pre- causes an overlap between layers, but not fracture. In solar pave-
sented more variation with temperature in comparison to the solar ment failure could not occur due to the flexibility in rubber as an
pavement with the slope of the solar pavement. According to BPN intrinsic characteristic of this material.
results and modeling, solar pavement showed desirable skid resis-
tance and therefore good safety for the road under critical 5.5. Rutting
Reduced skid resistance at low temperature in a solar panel is Rutting is one of the most serious forms of pavement distress,
greater than the reduction in the skid resistance of solar pavement. and severe rutting is a significant cause of pavement failure. Rut-
As the low temperatures and frost glass skid resistance has been ting refers to permanent deformation of the asphalt surface that
reduced, it is slippery and smooth than solar pavement. In general, accumulates in the wheel paths (Shahin, 2005). It is primarily the
in the various temperatures for solar panel, skid resistance is less result of repeated traffic loading cycles that commonly occurs in
than the solar pavement. the flexible pavement at high pavement temperatures (see Fig. 12).
Increasing in the slope of the diagram in fitted equations Flow number was determined based on the accumulated strain
induces temperature sensitivity in all specimens. A higher value versus the number of load cycles. Flow number shows potential of
of R2 leads to the more accuracy of the proposed equations. rutting on the solar panel, solar pavement, and asphalt sample
(Table 7).
5.3. Runoff Previous studies have shown that the flow number of dynamic
creep and asphalt resistance to rutting are directly linked (Zhou
Fig. 10 shows the outlet volume-time variation of solar panel, et al., 2004). Obtained rutting results (Fig. 11 and Table 7) show
solar pavement, and asphalt as a reference. All conditions are con- desirable performance for solar pavement. Since the rubber used
stant for 3 specimens. According to Fig. 8, at a constant water vol- in solar pavement is stretchable and deformable by loading, it indi-
ume, for solar pavement, runoff is removed faster than the solar cates a reversible deformation rather than permanent deformation,
panel and asphalt layer. The departure time in solar pavement is leading to a delayed failure occurrence. In addition, asphalt sample
40 s whereas it is 70 and 55 s for solar panel and asphalt sample, is not deformed until 2000 cycles loading (Table 7).
respectively. Due to the smooth surface of polycarbonate sheet
that used in the solar panel, water remains on this structure. How-
5.6. Fatigue
ever, in the solar pavement, due to the presence of groove on the
surface of this structure, rapid removal of water occurred from
Fatigue life is defined as the resistance to repetitive flexural
the surface of this sample. The porous layer and grooves on the sur-
bending until the failure has been evaluated. In other words, fati-
face of the solar pavement operate as small drainage channels and
gue is explained by the strength reduction of material under
cause the fast water release from the surface.
repeated load in comparison to the strength under a single load.
According to the survey, the average volumetric flow rates of
By calculating the strain from Eqs. (2) and (3), a diagram was
solar panel, a transparent sheet for solar pavement, and asphalt
drawn and shown in Fig. 13.
are 0.0345 L/s, 0.0599 L/s, and 0.0701 L/s, respectively. An increase
The test results sensitive to specimen and loading geometry and
in the average rate represents a faster departure in shorter time for
strain rate. Fig. 11 represents the number of load cycles at failure
a specified amount of liquid. Runoff tests for prototype 1, prototype
for solar panel, solar pavement, and asphalt sample. At a constant
2 and asphalt sample have errors equal to 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.25%,
rate of strain, the number of load cycles is Nf3  Nf2  Nf1 . Perfor-
mance efficiency is a necessary requirement in solar panel and
solar pavement. In this regard, implementing a new layer of solar
5.4. Flexural bending failure
cell and rubber causes an improvement in pavement performance
in comparison with asphalt layer.
Flexural bending is a test with increasing stress rate until sam-
ple failure; i.e., the sudden variations in deformation results in flex-
ural failure. Fig. 11 shows a variation in stress (load) and 6. Conclusion
deformation of the solar panel.
As indicated in Fig. 11, the solar panel showed 600 kPa resis- Nowadays, using renewable energy resources plays an impor-
tance against fracture within 60 s, and the failure finally occurs tant role in the future decarbonized energy supply for various
at this point. This deformation is approximately 4 mm and 67% applications such as heat, electricity, transportation, and safety.
of the total deformation occurred. Deformation on solar panel This work was conducted to evaluate the possibility of solar
282 A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284

pavement implementation to supply electricity from the sun in the prototype 2 indicated a better performance than prototype 1 in
surface of the road to facilitate transportation and improve safety the fatigue test.
on the roads. Therefore, solar panel and solar pavement were Results of electrical potential illustrate the effect of load on the
designed and constructed. These two prototypes were compared efficiency of solar cells and their performance. By placing a solar
with reference asphalt sample based on skid resistance, drainage, cell in the structure of a sheet of plexiglass or rubber, prototypes
loading potential, and electricity generation. Skid resistance for 1 and 2 showed 26% and 50% reduction in PCE reduction, respec-
solar pavement under wet and dry condition was 13.8% and tively. The PCE of prototype 2 in comparison with that prototype
13.6% higher than that of a solar panel, respectively. Solar pave- 1 was dropped about 40%. Although putting a layer on the proto-
ment showed drainage potential by 42% better in comparison to type 1 surface reduces the efficiency, to protect the electrical con-
that of the solar panel. The loading resistance results (based on nections and movement, implementation of cover layers (Plexiglas
the creep curve) for two samples revealed that solar pavement and rubber) seems necessary.
can sustain loading at higher cycles compared to a solar panel, This technology provides many benefits for our modern life and
while the solar panel was failed in a specific number of cycles. environmental protection such as the reduced consumption of fos-
Besides, the solar pavement showed an enhanced flow number sil fuels, reduced pollution from the conventional electricity gener-
and fatigue resistance compared to the solar panel. I-V measure- ation process, supplying the electric current to transport
ments indicated the effect of load on the efficiency of solar cells equipment, and convenient access to electricity through the use
and their performance. By placing a solar cell in the structure of of solar energy.
a polycarbonate sheet (solar panel) or rubber (solar pavement),
the solar panel and solar pavement showed 26% and 50% reduction
in PCE, respectively. The PCE of solar pavement in comparison with Appendix A
that of the solar panel was decreased about 40%.
In conclusion, due to energy crisis around the world, design and See Tables A.1A.4.
construction of solar road bring many benefits for our modern life
and environmental protection. Among these advantages are
reduced the consumption of fossil fuels, reduced pollution from Table A.1
Properties of the solar cell.
the conventional electricity generation process, supplying the elec-
tricity for transport equipment, and convenient access to electric- Properties Results
ity through the use of solar energy. Size 5  5 cm
Although there are different energy types such as heat, electric- Kind Mono crystalline
ity, and light in the world, coming with a solution for energy sup- Properties Capsulate, anti-weather
Internal system Connector series
ply seems to be necessary. Moreover, finding a new method to
Short-circuit current 40 mA
supply electrical energy instead of the conventional methods such
as fossil fuels and reservoir water in dams is wise because the for-
mer source is finite and will be exhausted.
The purpose of this study is to consider the feasibility of inno- Table A.2
Physical properties of the double-wall polycarbonate sheets.
vating solar pavement to supply electrical energy for facility trans-
portation. Toward this goal, two prototypes of solar roads were Properties Results
proposed. The prototypes are safe enough to be applied and can Thickness 6 mm
generate electric power from solar cells for transportation pur- Color Transparent
poses. Next, these prototypes were compared with a reference Softening temperature 135140
asphalt sample.
Due to the special design for keeping the solar cell in solar sys-
tems embedded to roads, prototype 1 shows higher values of
energy storage in comparison to prototype 2. Prototype 2 shows Table A.3
the reduction effect on solar radiation and its absorption by solar Mechanical properties of transparent layer.
cells because of the porous rubber layer. The major findings of this Parameter Value Standard Unit
research are as follows:
Density 1.2 ISO 1183 g/cm3
Two constructed prototypes were compared with a reference Tensile modulus 2300 ISO 527 Mpa
asphalt sample based on skid resistance, drainage, loading poten- Tensile strength 70 ISO 527 Mpa
tial, and electrical potential. Skid resistance defined by British pen- Elongation 80 ISO 527 %
Flexural modulus 2350 ISO 178 Mpa
dulum number (BPN) under wet conditions in prototype 2 was
Flexural strength 95 ISO 178 Mpa
13.8% more than that of prototype 1. The BPN value of prototype Softening point 145 ISO 306 C
2 is 13.6% more than that of solar panels under dry conditions. Impact strength 40 ISO 179 kJ/m2
Therefore, both prototypes show a good performance in terms of Percentage of passing light 86 ASTM D1003 %
skid resistance. It should be noted that a part of skid resistance is Water absorption 2 ISO 62 %

provided by the lower layer (asphalt layer).

Prototype 2 has a better performance than prototype 1 by 42%
in drainage potential. Additionally, this prototype was constructed
by aluminum for implementing fiberglass, solar cell, and rubber in Table A.4
Chemical properties of the rubber.
order to prevent water penetration.
The results of loading resistance of prototypes illustrate that Type of test Test Test unit
prototype 2 can resist loading at higher cycles than prototype 1 method result

based on creep curve while prototype 1 was failed in a specific Tensile strength ASTMD412 12.29 MPa
number of cycles. Elongation ASTMD412 488 %
Decline in the relative volume (Corrosion ISO 4649 112 mm3
Flow number of prototype 2 was 20% higher than that of proto-
type 1. Therefore, this prototype is better in flexibility. Moreover,
A.S. Dezfooli et al. / Solar Energy 149 (2017) 272284 283

Fig. B.1. Aggregate grading of the asphalt mixtures.

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