Environment: One million tons of CO2 can be saved by photovoltaic modules

Photovoltaic modules on noise protection structures along the German motorways and railway tracks could make a significant contribution to climate protection and save up to one million tons of CO2 every year.

Environment: One million tons of CO2 can be saved by photovoltaic modules

Photovoltaic modules on noise protection structures along the German motorways and railway tracks could make a significant contribution to climate protection and save up to one million tons of CO2 every year. This potential was revealed by an analysis carried out by the German Weather Service (DWD) together with the Federal Railway Authority (EBA) and the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).

The noise protection facilities along the railway lines, motorways and federal roads are around 5800 kilometers long, the DWD announced on Thursday in Offenbach. Based on satellite data, the DWD has calculated that around 1500 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity could be generated there annually by retrofitting photovoltaic modules. Around 450,000 households could cover their annual electricity consumption with this.

Noise barriers along the freeways are said to have the greatest potential. About 80 kilometers are made up of steep walls, i.e. metal frames filled with stones; Noise protection walls come to about 2500 kilometers. In both cases, the area that can be used for photovoltaic modules is around ten percent.

So-called noise barriers, which are often overgrown with grass and are reminiscent of dikes, are said to have the greatest potential. There are around 1,300 kilometers of these dams along the highways, and they have an annual yield potential of around 1,200 GWh if 50 percent of their area is built on with PV systems. However, the noise and operational properties of the structures would have to be retained. Green noise protection structures are often also relevant under nature conservation law. These limitations are included in the estimates.

Press release DWD analysis to estimate the potential annual energy yield of PV systems on noise protection facilities on traffic routes

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