Malta’s first solar-powered footpath in Rabat will generate 4,600kWh of electricity a year

The roads agency Infrastructure Malta (IM) has started installing along the promenade of Għeriexem Road in Rabat Malta’s first solar footpath, which is a pilot project that will be used to determine whether similar systems can be installed in other public open spaces.

The installed €70,000 solar footpath project is expected to power 40% of the road’s lighting. The pathway features 36 photovoltaic panels covering 40m2 and will be capable of generating more than 4,600 kWh of electricity per year, reducing emissions from fossil fuel-powered electricity by 21 tonnes a year.  A digital display next to the solar footpath will provide live updates on the amount of energy generated by the footpath and its corresponding carbon dioxide emission savings. 

The footpath uses extremely thin photovoltaic cells that are covered with heavy-duty resins and polymers that can withstand pedestrian, cycling and light vehicle traffic without compromising on skid resistance. The pathway’s installation was carried out in parallel with major works to rebuild the Għeriexem Road with a new promenade for safer pedestrian connections between Rabat and Mtarfa. 

Those works themselves are a €4 million project which saw the drilling of a row of 370 piles, 3 to 5 storeys deep, that will serve to stabilise the road and nearby buildings which allowed IM-workers to dig trenches for underground water, sewage and telecoms services. 

The roads agency intervened in the area following concerns about it gradually sinking into the valley it faces. Interventions have involved the installation of 100 steel-reinforced concrete piles 15 metres into the ground, bridged together with a long concrete beam and 6,000 large limestone blocks covered in concrete.