From roofs to roads, and even wall paint, solar-embedded infrastructure is having a moment. Joining the buzz is Platio, a Budapest-based solar paver company that’s already installed public projects in Hungary, Sweden, and Kazakhstan. Platio’s modular solar panel system can be embedded in everything from sidewalks to street furniture and beyond.
As their website observes: “We are surrounded by pavements. Should not these pavements contribute to sustainability?”
While Platio has installations in a mall sidewalk and at a commercial marina (where the panels are installed on pontoons), their coolest project is outfitting a set of undulating wooden benches with solar panels to provide power for visitors to Városháza Park in Budapest. The benches were designed by a local studio, Hello Wood, and even offer wireless charging.
Platio’s modular panel system features a durable frame made of recycled plastic, built-in wiring, and a non-slippery glass surface. The company’s first installation—the mall sidewalk in Astana, Kazakhstan—generates a peak output of 11.7 kilowatts of power from 861 square feet of panels. While that’s barely enough energy to power the average home, it’s not a bad start.