Former President Lyndon Johnson was once quoted as reflecting the massive influence of news anchor Walter Cronkite by saying, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." Well, here's a news flash to the makers of the Netherlands' SolaRoad: you've just lost Treehugger.

One full year into the operation of a project where solar panels were inserted into a portion of bike lane, its developers are touting its success, but Treehugger, that pro-environment website, begs to differ. With the test bed section of SolaRoad costing $3.7 million to install, the project has generated enough electricity to offset less than $2,000 in electricity savings. Perhaps gambling in Las Vegas would provide a better return on an investment.

When we last reported on SolaRoad in May, the path was delivering more power than forecast, though there were hiccups, like the fact that parts of the road delaminated due to temperature changes and required some re-coating.

The current stretch of SolaRoad, located about 15 miles northwest of Amsterdam, consists of a 230-foot ribbon of bike path covered in tempered glass and solar panels. Still, while Treehugger allows that such roads would get progressively cheaper as more are developed and installed, the cost of delivering solar power in Germany continues to drop as well. With solar power costs forecast to fall by as much as 55 percent by 2025, Treehugger doesn't buy the claim that SolaRoad will pay for itself in 15 years, as its developer has estimated. Instead, generating solar panes on rooftops and feeding it to where it's needed remains most practical.

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