Design Study and Potential Implementation of Photovoltaic Noise Barriers for Sustainable Highways

Laura Soares, Hao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photovoltaic noise barriers (PVNBs) are integrative structures that combine solar panels with noise barriers to harvest solar energy while abating noise from the highway. This study presents design studies and implementation issues of PVNB using highway assets to generate renewable energy. The energy estimation models were first developed at project level and then used for state-level analysis for top-mounted tilted, top-mounted bifacial, and shingles built-on designs. The case study of New Jersey, U.S., shows the energy output potential of 56,164 MWh per year when the shingles built-on configuration is adopted. Furthermore, a decision-making framework for site selection of PVNBs was proposed considering multiple economic, environmental, and social factors. The business models of PVNBs can be direct ownership or third-party ownership, which vary in infrastructure investment and economic gains. The implementation challenges related to risk of traffic accidents, efficiency loss because of soiling, noise absorption, and social impacts are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTransportation Research Record
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Photovoltaic noise barrier
  • business model
  • implementation challenge
  • site selection
  • solar energy
  • sustainable highway


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