Hungary paves way for solar pavements

TECH DIGEST – A Hungarian tech company is taking small steps towards using recycled plastic waste to make solar panels built into pavements, a solution it says could power buildings and charge electronic devices in public places.

The solar cells, developed by Budapest-based Platio, are protected with hardened glass tiles that allow paved areas to carry the weight of vehicles.

One solar panel unit provides about 20W of energy with Platio stating it is the only company that uses recycled plastic waste for this purpose. The solar cells are integrated into the pavement using recycled plastic materials, with about 2kg needed for each panel.

Platio says its pavements can be installed where using conventional solar technology is not possible.

The system consists of interlocking units called Platio solar pavers. Each paver is made from 400 recycled PET plastic bottles for a product more durable than concrete, according to the company.

The energy generated by Platio tiles is fed back to the power network.

Meanwhile, the company said a 20-square-metre solar pavement can cover the yearly energy consumption of an average household.

In April, Platio installed the first solar pavement for use on a residential driveway.