Solar Freaking Roadways





  • OK, this is pretty cool.

    I wonder though, how much will this degrade milage on cars? and tire life?



  • @Dashrender My guess would be that it would improve both. Asphalt is very tough on tires. Snow is horrible on gas mileage. A flat surface would improve gas mileage. And an abundance of electrical power would provide incentive for a move from gas fuel to electric fuel making things even better and, in theory, the road could be used to charge the cars!



  • Assuming the move to eletric cars, ok sure.. but they didn't look smooth in the prototypes, they had bumps on them, I'm guessing to add traction.

    The idea of having clear roadways regardless of snow - man I'm all for that! sign me up.. I wonder how much it will cost to replace my drive way and sidewalks?



  • The problem with snow removal/melting will be where is the power coming from? I'm guessing there won't be enough light energy to melt the snow since snow blocks the light... so the roadways would have to power batteries, which would then give back when needed for melting, etc.
    The same goes for lighting the roadways at night.



  • Those bumps are tiny. Think about the rough surface of a normal road. Only freshly laid, really exceptional roads are smoother than that. I don't know any road in NY that is that smooth, including new freeways.





  • Great quote... "Sure, we could pave the streets with solar panels, but we could also pave them with gold," science writer Aaron Saenz.



  • I think that the biggest thing will be parking lots and driveways. Small, low speed situations like office complexes. If I was putting in a new driveway at my office building and could immediately start turning the solar output into carbon offset for my datacenter I could easily justify the investment. It doesn't just make potential financial sense but could make employees happier (because they feel that working there helps the environment) and be a great marketing and PR campaign piece.



  • The small projects like, that are exactly what will be needed to get this technology off the ground.



  • @JaredBusch said:

    The small projects like, that are exactly what will be needed to get this technology off the ground.

    Or onto the ground, as the case may be 😉



  • Most things of this type tend to start in the grass roots space. Smaller companies that have something to prove or little to lose. The use case in a parking lot is much safer than it is on a high speed highway - a pothole or failed unit won't cause high speed accidents and no one is really at risk.

    Think about a grocery store - they could monitor parking lot capacity, keep the lot free of snow and look super cool doing it. It could be a huge piece of advertising for them.

    Think about any business that wants to use the space to do ads or presentations!



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Most things of this type tend to start in the grass roots space. Smaller companies that have something to prove or little to lose. The use case in a parking lot is much safer than it is on a high speed highway - a pothole or failed unit won't cause high speed accidents and no one is really at risk.

    Think about a grocery store - they could monitor parking lot capacity, keep the lot free of snow and look super cool doing it. It could be a huge piece of advertising for them.

    Think about any business that wants to use the space to do ads or presentations!

    The Verge article states that the cost is 50% more than an asphalt road. Seriously? Only 50% more? How long will it take to payback in power generation? What is the lifespan of a panel, etc. those are the things I have seen neither side address.



  • I'm sure that 50% does not take into account the two channels down either side of the road.


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