2kg of recycled plastic is used to make one solar panel. Photo by Platio
2kg of recycled plastic is used to make one solar panel. Photo by Platio
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Krisztina Fenyo

Not just small talk for Hungarian solar pavements

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Krisztina Fenyo
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August 31, 2021
3 min
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Overview

Hungarian solar panel designers are showing that recycled plastic can be both useful and good for the environment.

A Hungarian technology company is using recycled plastic waste to make solar panels built into pavements to power buildings and charge electronic devices in public places.

The solar cells are protected with hardened glass tiles, which allow the pavements to carry the weight of vehicles. The secret lies in the small-scale approach, said Imre Sziszak, co-founder of Budapest-based Platio.

"There are no complicated bits in this panel. We use recycled plastic which provides a very strong and durable surface," Sziszak said, while laying down a pavement at a public swimming pool in the north-west town of Komarom on the Slovak border. Here, the solar panels will provide green energy for public lighting and a USB-charging station as well.

"We wanted to make a really simple product that can provide renewable energy for households," Sziszak added.

One solar panel unit provides about 20 Watts of energy and Platio says it is the only company which uses recycled plastic waste for this purpose.

The solar cells are integrated into the pavement by using recycled plastic materials, with about 2kg needed for each panel. Platio pavements can be installed where using conventional solar technology is not possible.

"There are many cases when the users cannot put it on the roof, either because of the bad position of the house, or because of the system or the roof structure, and in these cases ours is a very good alternative," Sziszak said.

For a typical family house, a 20sqm pavement provides sufficient green energy. This is easily accomplished by Platio—their largest project was an 80sqm pavement in Kazakhstan to power the air conditioning of a shopping mall.

Source: platiosolar.com

Although the Platio solar pavement is currently more expensive than traditional roof-mounted panels, Sziszak believes the simplicity of the product makes it more versatile.

"For some reason, all our competitors and the other developers are somehow hooked on the idea of making roads… that signal where animals come from, or where the next turn is," he said.

This article was originally published on Thomson Reuters Foundation News, with reporting by Krisztina Fenyo and editing by Ed Osmond. Used with permission.