Highway Photovoltaic Noise Barriers (PVNB)

Focus Area



Air Quality, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Transportation agencies worldwide are increasingly seeking ways to cost-effectively improve the sustainability of their various activities, particularly by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The PVNB is one technology that highway agencies are turning to achieve these and other benefits. First deployed in 1989 in Switzerland, highway PVNBs have now been erected in at least nine countries. As such, there may be opportunities to research the international PVNB experience while reflecting on inventory information available on conventional noise barriers in the U.S. to determine whether PVNBs offer feasible alternatives for transportation agencies domestically. The proposed research will include a review of effective practices from the international experience to develop a better understanding of what these projects entail (e.g., safety, efficiency/performance, noise attenuation, geometry, construction best practices, financing). Constraints related to implementing PVNBs in the United States will be explored, along with the energy generation potential based on available noise barrier data, such as location and extent, maintenance status, proximity to sensitive receptors, etc., given the identified constraints.

Urgency and Payoff

The information gathered from this project could inform state and local transportation agencies on the feasibility of PVNB use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote overall sustainability in the transportation sector.

Suggested By

Diane Turchetta US DOT-FHWA 202-493-0158

[email protected]