Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Solar Roads - Are They Feasible?

To answer my own question, the technology behind the concept is solid, and is very practical! In the interest of not providing false or misleading information, there is not some massive plan in the works to change every piece of pavement into an energy-absorbing piece of roadway. Rather, the inventor, Scott Brusaw, has indicated that this technology would be most useful in parking lots, cul-de-sacs, and essentially anywhere there is a large area of pavement. For instance, if an entire Walmart parking lot were made from solar material, it could supply a vast majority (if not all) of the power the store requires to operate.


Production has already begun for glass which is sufficiently strong for this application. As it turns out, this idea is being taken quite seriously and is not just some crack-pot theory (which was my initial impression of this technology). Apparently the inventor has got the attention of the Federal Highway Administration and is currently in fourth place in the GE Ecomagination Challenge, a competitive funding opportunity that could get the project off the ground, so to speak.

As I mentioned above, the idea is being proposed as a solution to the power needs immediately surrounding the solar panels. For instance, throw this technology in a few cul-de-sacs and you could take a whole subdivision off the power grid, according to the research being conducted. Preliminary testing is showing these panels to be efficient even in cloudy weather.

Scott Brusaw and a demonstration solar panel
Not to mention, since the roadway will be made from glass, you could add LED lights (see above image) which could display speed limits, crosswalks, and other pertinent information. Pricing is irrelevant at this point, but the inventor is indicating that it won't cost much more than traditional asphalt by the time it reaches mass production.

I can't see any negatives to this technology whatsoever, and would be more than ecstatic to see this implemented in my neighborhood! I'm interested to hear opinions on this.

40 comments:

  1. Lol was going to post this on my blog but no need to now, I love the idea and im interested to see if it would have any effect on certain tires for traction and even if it melts snow the moisture will still be there, so I wonder if it will be slippery??? DAngerous or not I want it!

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  2. Ideally, yes. but practically, no. There are just way too many roads. Doubt we will have enough solar panels to cover them.

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  3. wow I hope to see this before I die! The streets are going to look so sci-fi >_<

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  4. Dry Mustard - http://www.amazon.com/Colmans-Mustard-2-Ounce-Canister-Pack/dp/B001ELL36Y

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  5. That would really be something special if they could convert the roads to solar. Until then we wait patiently.

    Sincerely,
    http://bulkingjobra.blogspot.com

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  6. Sweet!! I have always wanted light up roads!!

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  7. This is a genius idea and I would love to see this put into place.

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  8. I love that font on blog entries, man

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  9. It's actually a pretty neat idea. The superhighway for real.

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  10. This would be the neatest idea.

    http://juiceishere.blogspot.com/

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  11. I dunno, It really sounds great in theory, but the way things are now It'll take AAGGEESS to implement this idea into anything substantial.

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  12. would be a great idea in my opinion.

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  13. I'm routing for this. Crossing fingers, etc.

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  14. That looks insane, but that would save so much money and generate so much hydro.

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  15. It sounds like a great idea but I'm still confused. Glass? The roads are going to be made out of glass? Glass can be made strong enough? And what about traction?

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  16. Exquisite. Love it, love it.

    http://reasonsoup.blogspot.com/

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  17. Nice idea. But feasible? Why not just put a 2 meter lane of panels next to the road?

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  18. This is so amazing! So exciting! :)
    And it's such a simple idea!

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  19. that's so cool! The future is exciting :)

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  20. That is so cool, they really need to put this in place asap world wide! Nice post :D

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  21. Not sure how well this would work in areas that it snows a lot. Our roads get pretty tore up from plow trucks and salt.

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  22. This is a brilliant idea. More money should be invested into this sort of research, as it is these sort of ideas that help to improve society for everyone.

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  23. It sounds really good! However I have a feeling it would be not as safe. Imagine glass + snow and raid or something like that. Would be weird.

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  24. "Look ma the streets are made of glass!"
    Crazy notion! Wouldn't it also be very very hard, it would probably take it's toll on suspension...plus i'd hate to run on it...but if it saves the planet then cool

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  25. I actually caught this on the TV some time back. I am stoked waiting on this to become reality.

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  26. Great idea hope it's implemented

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  27. Solar roads huh? Hmmm... interesting concept. What up Daz? Long time no see.

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  28. dude, that is so sick. they should install heaters as well, so when winter rolls around, the solar panels take in energy, then power the heaters to melt the snow.

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