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The following material contains material being collected and modified for a PV Noise Barrier investigation that began in January 2001.  The goal of this investigation is to identify potential applications for PV system technologies as retrofits to existing highway noise barriers, and as integral components of noise barriers to be consructed in the future.

For further information on this project, please contact Peter Kleeman at the following:

Peter T. Kleeman
407 Hedge Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902 USA
(804) 296-6208

A PV Noise Barrier on the Autobahn A6 near Sausenheim Germany

This project integrates solar panels into the design of the noise barrier to provide both energy generation and noise protection.  The energy generated by this project is rated at 100kwp with 1,700 sunshine hours anticipated over the course of a year. Two other PV noise barriers were constructed with the solar panels mounted on noise barriers (not integrated into the barrier itself) on the A3 near Hamburg and on the A6 near Saarbrücken-Gündingen.


The image to the right is a view of the PV noise barrier as viewed from the autobahn. Note that the solar panels are facing away from the roadway. The curvature of the PV component of the barrier may provide additional insertion loss compared to a vertical barrier design.



The figure to the left   is a schematic diagram of the PV noise barrier illustrating integration of the solar panels into the construction of the barrier itself thereby allowing both energy generation and noise protection by the solar panels themselves.




The figure to the right illustrates assembly of the integrated barrier modules. This view is from the side of the barrier away from the highway.

The figure to the left provides a view of the integrated barrier looking down on the highway itself.

PV scherm A9


Het PV-geluidscherm langs de Rijksweg A9 is een duurzame zonnestroomcentrale met fotovoltaïsche zonnecellen in het bovenste gedeelte van de constructie.

In totaal zijn 2160 panelen met zonnecellen geplaatst die samen een vermogen hebben van circa 205 kWp en jaarlijks 176.000 kWh elektrische energie kunnen produceren.

De panelen zijn AC-modules en hebben dus elk een stroomomvormer. Bij het begin van dit project was de AC-module een redelijk nieuw product. Door de omvang van het project wordt ervaring opgedaan met de invloed van een groot aantal AC-modules op het elektriciteitsnet. Omdat bovendien gebruik gemaakt is van verschilende soorten omvormers, kunnen de prestaties daarvan onderling worden vergeleken.

Het project is door de betrokken partijen (ENW, ECN, TNC en Fraunhofer), Novem en de Europese Commissie gefinancierd. De stroom wordt afgenomen door de provincie Noord Holland.

Meer informatie PV scherm A9 pdf-bestand [This is a specification sheet on the project]



In opdracht van Rijkswaterstaat directie Utrecht is een geluidsscherm met zonnestroom aangelegd langs de A27 ter hoogte van De Bilt. Het scherm heeft een lengte van 550 meter met daarin een netgekoppeld zonnestroomsysteem van 55 kWp.

De zonnepanelen zijn bovenop het scherm aangebracht, zodanig dat ze ook een bijdrage leveren aan de geluidsbeperking. In totaal zijn 1116 zonnepanelen gebruikt. De zonnestroom wordt direct aan het net geleverd via een omvormer van 40 kW. Het systeem is dus in feite een kleine elektriciteitscentrale. Naar verwachting zal de elektriciteitsproductie ongeveer 33.000 kWh per jaar bedragen. Het systeem is in mei 1995 officieel in gebruik genomen.

Dit praktijkexperiment toont aan dat het goed mogelijk is zonnestroom in te zetten in geluidsschermen.

De gecombineerde functie van stroomleverantie en geluidswering kan in de toekomst tot een kosteneffectieve toepassing van zonnestroom leiden.

Meer informatie A27 pdf-bestand [This is a specification sheet on the project]

A Motorway traffic noise barrier which produces solar electricity...


A noise barrier, producing electricity thanks to solar panels, was connected to the French domestic network on January 1, 2000. The equipment, which is the first of its kind in France, has a power rating of 63 kWp. It was provided and installed by TOTAL ENERGIE, the French specialist in solar electricity.

The wall, 650 m long and approximately 4m high, is located on the A21 motorway in the north-east of France.

The electricity produced by the solar panels supplies power for a pumping system run by the General des Eaux water company. The production surplus is re-injected in the domestic distribution network.

The production of solar electricity is permanently surveyed through an Enerpac system, which records production as well as weather data (sunshine, temperature, etc) This unit is connected to a modem and can be consulted at remote distances.

Solar electricity producer, TOTAL ENERGIE is the world's leading soalr systems integrator and is involved in all stages from system design to installation and including the follow-up of solar systems (maintenance, after sales service)

TOTAL ENERGIE 12-14 allee du Levant, 69890 La Tour de Salvagny, France Tel: +33 (0) 4 78488850 Fax: +33 (0) 478194483 email:

A PV Noise Barrier near Utrecht NL

Photo by: Hans Uitdenbogerd







Sample PV Noise Barrier Calculations

The following computations illustrate potential energy generation from PV technology retrofits on existing highway noise barriers in Virginia and Nationwide. These calculations are for illustration purposes only and based on Federal Highway Administration noise barrier data. Projected new barriers based on a private nationwide survey is used to predict energy generation potentials in the near future.

Baseline Information:

Cost of PV panels installed = $5 / Wp

Electrical Power Generation Potential of Current PVs = 120 Wp / sq. m.

Dimensions of a typical PV panel for barrier applications = .67 m. X 1.5 m. (area = 1 sq. m.)

Barrier Retrofit Design Assumptions:

Geometry: A single row of panels mounted along top of noise barrier to create a 1.5 meter high linear array of panels the full length of the noise barrier.

Power Generation: PV arrays in this geometry has rated power generation potential of 180 Wp / linear meter. Note that actual power generated from the PVs will be less than rated value due to non-optimal orientation and other prevailing conditions.

Retrofit Potentials on Noise Barriers in Place on December 31, 1998

In Virginia:  FHWA reports 153.3 km of noise barriers in place (average height = 5.1 m.)

In Top 10 States: FHWA reports 1,808.6 km of noise barriers in place (average height = 4.2 m.). [States include CA (777 km), VA (153), NJ (142), OH (138), NY (110), CO (104), MN (101), MD (99), IL (97), PA (83)]

In Virginia, the energy potential from retrofit is 153.3 km X 180 Wp/km = 27.6 MWp

In Top 10 States, the energy potential from retrofit is 1,806.6 km X 180 Wp/km = 325 MWp

Near Future Potentials in Virginia and in Top 10 States

In Virginia: Recent Survey (2000)indicates that approximately 50 km of noise barriers are currently in development and likely to be constructed in the near future. This implies that if the same geometry as in retrofit is used an additional 9 MWp could be added (approx 3 MWp per year).

In Top 10 States: If same rate of expansion of noise barriers as in Virginia is planned, more than 100 MWp additional capacity would be added in the next 3 years.

Comparative Data

Wind Turbine of type we visited in Hannover had about 1.0 - 1.2 MWp rating

New power station planned in Fluvanna County will be rated at 900 MWp [uses 550 acres of land of which facility uses 55 acres and remainder is buffer area, consume 11 cu. ft. of water per sec., 0.1 pounds of NOX and 0.01 pounds of SO2 per MW-hr generated (versus 6.2 pounds NOX and 20 pounds of SO2 for older coal fired plants)

Cost of Fluvanna facility estimated at $250-325 Million


Swiss Participation in European Research Programmes


EU-Programme : JOULE
Project-Title : Large scale integration of AC PV modules into a noise barrier along a highway near Amsterdam (PV NB 220)
Keywords : PV noise barrier; AC-module; large scale PV integration
Beneficiary : Thomas Nordmann
Organisation / Company : TNC Consulting AG
Asylstrasse 84
8708 Männedorf, Switzerland
Project Duration : 01.01.1998 - 31.03.2000
Contribution BBW/OFES : CHF 38'704.--
Project-Number : BBW 97.0205
Project Partners : Energie Noord West N.V., (NL), TNC Energie Consulting GmbH (D), Fraunhofer-ISE (D), Energie Onderzoek Centrum Nederland (NL)


- Installation of an innovative 220 kWp grid connected PV system, production of 176,000 kWh per year
- Reduction of system costs on an overall level through volume, integrated design and prefabrication
- Evaluation of technical, architectural and economical aspects
- Investigation of performance and impact on utility grid of a large number of parallel AC modules, including disturbances, harmonics, spikes, surges, etc.

- Fully integrated design of the entire system from the beginning, including serviceability aspects
- Technical and organisational involvement of all project partners from the start: energie company, municipality, road directorate, building company, governmental organisations, PV consultants
- Development and demonstration of innovative design approach and prefabrication mounting methods
- Architectural integration of large AC PV modules into a new to build 1650 m long noise barrier, including engineering of rather high structures (4...5m) and crossing a river (200m of length on a bridge)
- Multi-functionality of PV modules: energy production and noise reduction

Project status
- The installation was put into operation in spring 1998

Reporting Date : 30.04.1999

Evaluation of the potential of PV noise barrier technology for electricity production and market share


Goetzberger, A, G. Kleiss, S. Castello, G. Hille, C. Reise, E. Wiemken, J.W.H. Betcke, V.A.P. van Dijk, N. Persall, K. Hynes, B. Gaidddon, T. Nordmann, A. Froelicht, Evaluation of the potential of PV noise barrier technology for electricity production and market share, Final Report, TNC Freiburg June 1999. (Report commissioned by EU; publ. No. 99091).


This publication is available as PDF file. Go to to download the Report

PV System Performance Calculators

Source: - select PV System Calculator from Utility menu.

An online calculator is available to get an estimate of the energy produced from a selection of available systems and net monthly cost of a PV system using data by zipcode.

The online program uses your selections, combines them with pre-collected data and analyzes the information. For a given system (selected from 50kW; 75kW; 100kW); orientation of the solar panel (selected from 16 compass orientations) and solar panel tilt (from horizontal (0 degrees) to vertical (90 degrees) in increments of 10 degrees and produces an output of the following type;

This system will cost $792 per month, produce 84,273 kWh of electricity, and
eliminate 176,636 lbs of CO2 emissions in the first year.

The pre-collected data is updated regularly and includes:

Because this program includes potential economic incentives and the tax benefits of purchasing a PV renewable energy system, it is important to determine the availability of any economic incentives to correctly interpret economic results.

Solar System Prices and Specifications



BP Solar:




Solarex (BP Solar):

Solon AG (Germany):



Sierra Solar Systems:

Visit the Store option to see specifications and prices on a variety of products from many PV panel manufacturers including AstroPower; BP Solar; Siemens; Kyocera; Solarex; Uni-Solar ; Photowatt.

Sierra Solar sells a range of products including Small Modules that sell for under $100. per unit.

Other Resources

Highway Noise Barrier Design Handbook:

Federal Highway Administration:

The Wall Journal:

Other Links not yet integrated into the page.

other sustainability pages of interest