Solar panels set for unique use in SwindonJuly 31, 2013
The A419 in Swindon could be in line for a unique scheme, which will see solar panels generate electricity while acting as a noise barrier simultaneously.
It is a system that has already been put in place in Germany, Austria and Italy and it could be making its first appearance in the UK soon.
A working group has now been established by Swindon Borough Council to look into the possibility of making this a reality.
The panels would be installed along the A419 dual carriageway and could cost up to £1 million a mile. However, it has been suggested that electricity generated by the solar photovoltaics could then be sold back to local businesses to help fund the project.
Dale Heenan, cabinet member for sustainability at Swindon Borough Council, said that Swindon is home to businesses such as Honda and BMW, amongst others, and he is confident of interest in the scheme.
"If we can get them on board, we can then raise the money necessary to build and pay for the maintenance of the sound barrier itself," he added.
The potential development has already gained approval from the Highways Agency along with other transport ministers.
In addition to providing clean, sustainable energy to large local businesses, the noise barriers will also ensure that local residents get more protection from the excessive sound of vehicles on the nearby road.
There is a noise barrier in place but there are some gaps, as it was deemed uneconomical to cover the whole stretch of the road. Therefore areas in Stratton, such as Watermead, Liden and Covingham missed out.
However, if the working group make approvals for the project, it could be completed within the next two years.
“We have agreed the principle and there is the will to do it and we are now looking for business with the expertise and knowledge to get involved,” Mr Heenan said.