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“Solar Roads” Could Power the Future

Posted in Alt Fuels, Bizarre, Electric Cars, Electric Vehicles, Emissions, Environment, General, Oil Industry, Plug-In Vehicles, Roads by Adam | September 6th, 2009 | 2 Responses |

Solar Roadway

The U.S. Department of Transportation just doled out $100,000 to upstart company Solar Roadways to develop “Solar roads,” i.e. sturdy, 12×12 solar panels built specifically to be embedded into roads. The Department of Energy and, of course, Solar Roadways hopes that these solar roadways will push quite a bit of power into the energy grid. Each panel can develop around 7.6 kwh of power per day. The panels may also be include heating elements to keep the road from freezing over and glowing LED road markings to help people finally act out TRON based fantasies in the real world. For a mere $7k per panel!

According to Popular Science a mile-long stretch of four-lane solar road could produce enough energy to power 500 homes. The Solar Roadways press release includes even more potential awesomeness. They say electric vehicles will be able to recharge on the road and in parking lots making long distance travel in fully electric cars a lot more viable. They also claim the roads will be able to detect crossing animals and warn travelers to slow down.

Solar Roadways estimates it will take about $5 billion to cover all of the asphalt surfaces in the U.S. but, that it would produce “three times more power than we’ve ever used as a nation — almost enough to power the entire world.” Can you say stimulus package?

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2 Responses

  1. Will says:

    Can you say preposterous?

    Go back and re-read what this piece of…says. Look at the outlandish claims(“…it will take about $5 billion to cover all of the asphalt surfaces in the U.S…”). Do the math: 12’x12′ panel = 144 ft². One mile of roadway = 24’x5280′ = 126,720 ft² divided by 144 ft² times $7,000 per panel = $6.2 MILLION per mile, just for the panels, not including all the infrastructure and equipment to do *anything* with the electricity produced (a fraction of the 7.6 KWh per panel ridiculously predicted, trust me) — even with just that, $5 billion gets you just 810 miles of roadway…

  2. Alex says:

    wow even i notice that this will be a financially impossible dream to achieve…… really even if we do happen to compose all the roads into solar panels will it even sustain the weight of 8-wheelers?? literally sparks are going to fly with this project. hey i dont want to be the negative teen girl here thumbs up for thinking green here but seriously its just an insane idea. until we can design electrical power light weight cars that a computer can drive to the drivers satisfaction and that dont use a gut load of energy………… well we can jus say that this idea goes into the trash cans….