About a year ago, I talked about Solar Roadways and how they were going to revolutionize not only the solar panel industry but the road construction industry as well. The idea behind having solar roadways is to replace a portion of our existing 25,000 square miles of existing pavement with tough and efficient photovoltaic panels.
In fact, these glass and composite solar roadway panels are so tough that an 18-wheeler can flip over on them without wiping them out. They also have to be durable and cost-efficient compared to asphalt, not to mention they will produce electricity for homes and businesses nearby.
The solar roadways have to beat the current low ball cost of $16 per square foot for asphalt with a life expectancy of over 7 years. Solar roadways could be used in residential neighborhoods, near schools and businesses to supply power. Right now the highways and byways of the U. S. collect heat and tire wear and give very little back.
The solar roadways will change this by giving back electricity that is renewable, decentralized and cost efficient when economies of scale are taken into consideration. Under the current U. S. stimulus package, President Obama wants to hire construction companies to repair roads and bridges.
He also wants to put people to work building solar panels and other photovoltaic projects. Solar Roadways combine these two goals into one package by employing construction workers in the photovoltaic industry and vice versa.
Solar Roadways has just been named a finalist in TechInsight’s EE Times fifth Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards. So, the next time you’re driving down the road, think of how solar-powered streets could one day be supplying electricity to the homes and businesses in your city and neighborhood. Now, blink and fast forward a couple of years, and this may just be a reality.