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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Solar roadways: the future?

As the price of asphalt climbs (dramatically) because it's petroleum based, other ways to build roads become appealing. Here is what sounds like a radical solution -- building roads that generate electricity through solar power -- yet when you watch the video, it seems to make sense.


  1. Oh, c'mon! A road - any road - is covered with a layer of oil from the cars, mixed with dust from the air. Just look at the photos in the video. A solar panel, especially one that is "only" 15% efficient(!), needs a surface that is clean enough to eat on. Who is going to get out there with hot soapy water and a big brush every few days and clean off that scum?


  2. This makes so much sense it will never happen...but I will be a strong advocate! Hope to see more about future developments. On The Road With

  3. Interesting concept. I can see it working on a local basis due to the issues of driving DC current any distance. I suppose they could land high-grade inverters in the side of the road-bed every 50' or, within each panel. But, that would drive up the costs considerably. Also, the issue of electrifying the local ground should a short occur during a rain storm could make interesting reading in the news.

    The controllers required to isolate sections of the grid from others during partly cloudy days or, periods of heavy traffic (much like the rectifiers in use today but, on a much larger scale) would be interesting, to say the least.

    While $1,000 a ton seems like a high price, the costs of this system will make asphalt appear cheap by comparison.

  4. I think his point was that solar panels are more than 15% efficient and improving. Even with a layer of crap on them they can still be at least 15% efficient. Stop along a roadside and look at the reflectors built into the road surface. Nobody cleans those but they reliably reflect your car's headlights for years. Same principle.

  5. Noting is perfect! It is a step in the right direction. I wish the sun shined on my driveway, I would consider it.


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