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ENDLESS ELECTRICITY: Here's A Way Of Turning America's Roads Into Gigantic Solar Panels
Business Insider ^ | 05/14/2014 | ROB WILE

Posted on 05/14/2014 7:13:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

solar roadways

Solar Roadways

Julie and Scott Brusaw.

There are about 31,251 square miles of roads, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, and sidewalks in the lower 48 states. If Julie and Scott Brusaw have their way, they will all someday be replaced with solar panels.

For the better part of a decade, the Idaho couple has been working on prototyping an industrial-strength panel that could withstand the weight of even the largest trucks. They now appear to have cracked the formula, developing a specially textured glass coating for the panels that can not only bear tremendous loads but also support standard tire traction. 

By their reckoning, at peak installation their panelized roads could produce more than three times the electricity consumed in the U.S.

The material could power electric vehicles through a receiver plate mounted beneath the vehicle and a transmitter plate is installed in the road.

solar roadways

Solar Roadways

(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: roads; solarenergy
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1 posted on 05/14/2014 7:13:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
AN ARTIST's RENDERING OF HOW IT WOULD LOOK LIKE...


2 posted on 05/14/2014 7:14:08 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: SeekAndFind
SOLAR POWER IN PARKING LOTS...

3 posted on 05/14/2014 7:14:39 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Oh swell...just another way to set cars on fire


4 posted on 05/14/2014 7:14:59 AM PDT by Nifster
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To: SeekAndFind

Of all the solar power plans I’ve seen, this looks the most acceptable.


5 posted on 05/14/2014 7:16:09 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: SeekAndFind

I love the inventiveness, but solar cannot power an industrial society, and there is no need, environmental or otherwise to stop using abundant, flexible, and inexpensive hydrocarbons.


6 posted on 05/14/2014 7:17:18 AM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: SeekAndFind

The good news (for me at least) is that I won’t live long enough to see it....


7 posted on 05/14/2014 7:17:20 AM PDT by varmintman (It must really suck to be a Nazi in Kiev these days...)
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To: SeekAndFind

But isn’t the whole point of parking lots and roads to cover the paved surface with cars........


8 posted on 05/14/2014 7:18:01 AM PDT by JParris
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To: SeekAndFind

If the joint were pervious so water could soak into the ground underneath that would be a plus.


9 posted on 05/14/2014 7:18:05 AM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: SeekAndFind

How well would they stand up to snow plows, ice heave, etc.?

An interesting idea, but may also suffer from distance-to-user issues.


10 posted on 05/14/2014 7:18:19 AM PDT by MortMan (Avoid temporary variables and strange women.)
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To: SeekAndFind

How quickly will the glass become ‘marred’ so that the panels must be replaced for current to rise?


11 posted on 05/14/2014 7:19:18 AM PDT by MHGinTN
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To: Nifster

It would be a neat trick if it could work. I suspect though that UV degradation of the plastic would reduce millions of square miles of it to rubble, and a lot of problems with water and salt intrusion.

Catching that degradation and replacement before the voltaic cells are damaged would be a very intensive effort in my opinion.

Still, it is thinking that’s definitely outside of the box. I’ll give the couple that.


12 posted on 05/14/2014 7:20:06 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: ShadowAce

Really? It looks totally whacked out to me. Road beds crumble from below and then what happens to the solar panels?


13 posted on 05/14/2014 7:20:09 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: ShadowAce

I foresee heavy maintenance costs on a product like that. I like the idea. Practical application may not meet reality when the rubber needs to hit the road...: )


14 posted on 05/14/2014 7:20:39 AM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: SeekAndFind
Looks like an Avalon Hill board game from the 70s or 80s!

Can you double stack the counters on each grid?

15 posted on 05/14/2014 7:22:42 AM PDT by ealgeone (obama, borderof)
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To: ShadowAce
Of all the solar power plans I’ve seen, this looks the most acceptable.

Possibly, until reality sets in. Fact is, we live on a very dirty planet. Tires leave rubber, wind deposits dust and leaves, birds leave crap, deer leave blood and anything made out of a polymer sluffs off electrons leaving it brittle. All that goes into making for less sunlight getting to the cels and reducing the efficiency of the panel. IMHO this is yet another person with a guilty conscience trying to make amends for their existance. Their idea for a durable surface would be better served as a roofing material or similar structure, but for a road, not so much.

16 posted on 05/14/2014 7:23:22 AM PDT by rjsimmon (The Tree of Liberty Thirsts)
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To: SeekAndFind

That means only 1% of the contiguous U.S. is paved.

That puts the lie to Joni Mitchell’s line, “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”


17 posted on 05/14/2014 7:23:54 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("I'm a Contra" -- President Ronald Reagan)
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To: SeekAndFind

So, we are going to ask guys who can’t shovel dirt into potholes to generate the nation’s power?


18 posted on 05/14/2014 7:23:55 AM PDT by SC_Pete
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To: MortMan

Oh, nice idea ... until the roads get ripped up for traffic lights, telephone and sewage lines, water pipes, base settlement, gas lines, new turn lanes, bridges, ......


19 posted on 05/14/2014 7:24:16 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Seems more practical on sidewalks and patios, where cars don’t park.


20 posted on 05/14/2014 7:24:50 AM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: SeekAndFind

I have to wonder how these panels interact with the oils and grease that cars drop on the road.


21 posted on 05/14/2014 7:25:29 AM PDT by TaxPayer2000
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To: ealgeone
Looks like an Avalon Hill board game from the 70s or 80s!

All we be well if Russia can hold out until winter!
22 posted on 05/14/2014 7:26:18 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("I'm a Contra" -- President Ronald Reagan)
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To: SeekAndFind

I think it will be perfectly workable if the only traffic allowed is bicycles - at night.


23 posted on 05/14/2014 7:26:28 AM PDT by NewHampshireDuo
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To: SeekAndFind

Another way to get government grant money to the Green Worshipers. There is no way these panels will survive Houston heat and traffic in our 8-month summers.


24 posted on 05/14/2014 7:26:58 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: SeekAndFind

Industrial strength dumb idea.


25 posted on 05/14/2014 7:27:35 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: SeekAndFind

What impact will snow and snowplows have on these panels?


26 posted on 05/14/2014 7:27:50 AM PDT by maggief
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

Oh, A flat plate ground-level receptor on a constantly rotating planet with a solar elevation angle of a moving star hidden by hundred of millions of constantly moving shadows under cars, trees, buildings, cloud cover, dust, pollen, and haze .....

Is “slightly less” than efficient.

Besides, NO solar panel can generate any more than 1/4 of the day (from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM) ... So you need to generate 4 times the energy needed at peak power (noon) and then re-create it from ??? storage until the power is needed the remaining 3/4 of the 24 hour day.


27 posted on 05/14/2014 7:28:28 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: SeekAndFind

They won’t fix roads now so why would they go for this? They will not encourage roads under the principles of agenda 21.


28 posted on 05/14/2014 7:29:40 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Ditter
I never said it was perfect. But it's better than covering the landscape with huge panels that block out everything.

It could definitely use more work and thought.

29 posted on 05/14/2014 7:29:47 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Dr. Sivana
Looks like an Avalon Hill board game from the 70s or 80s! All we be well if Russia can hold out until winter!

Rise and Fall of the Third Reich!

30 posted on 05/14/2014 7:31:01 AM PDT by ealgeone (obama, borderof)
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31 posted on 05/14/2014 7:32:11 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: ealgeone
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich!

Yup. Eighty pages of rules on 8 1/2" x 11" paper in 7 point type. You set all up, and a skilled player gets Germany to win in 20 minutes!
32 posted on 05/14/2014 7:33:15 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("I'm a Contra" -- President Ronald Reagan)
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To: SeekAndFind

Oh great, so if I fall off my bike, I’ll get a large electric shock. :^/


33 posted on 05/14/2014 7:34:25 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: SeekAndFind
an industrial-strength panel that could withstand the weight of even the largest trucks.
How many snowfalls before the panels are destroyed?
34 posted on 05/14/2014 7:34:48 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: SeekAndFind

So...does this mean no more pot holes??? Im in!


35 posted on 05/14/2014 7:35:04 AM PDT by carjic (Fed up!)
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To: MHGinTN

Almost immediately. Road surfaces, especially those that carry heavy trucks, take an incredible beating.


36 posted on 05/14/2014 7:38:18 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Gaffer

Thinking out side of the box is what Solyndra did. Sometimes it is important to understand the science behind what you are doing before deciding that you have the answer.

Yes UV degradation is a problem but it is not the only problem...The voltaic cells are not going to see any appreciable amount of ‘sunlight’ (energy) at all. The plastic is going to absorb somewhere around 90% of the incoming (hence the degradation of which you speak).


37 posted on 05/14/2014 7:39:15 AM PDT by Nifster
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To: SeekAndFind

One problem with solar panels is that when they are connected in series they are limited to the output of the worst producing panel. To connect them in parallel requires an inverter for each parallel connection which means a lot more equipment. For this road concept to work every “panel” would need to be connected in parallel otherwise the output would basically stop any time a car was driving on any part of series connected set of panels (not to mention the effect of dirt, snow, clouds, etc.) The amount of equipment necessary even for the small areas rendered would have astronomical costs.


38 posted on 05/14/2014 7:39:49 AM PDT by RightOnTheBorder
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To: SeekAndFind

Many years ago, Phillips Petroleum Company came up with a brilliant idea. Instead of crappy patches of cracks and potholes on roadways that only last a year or two, they came up with the idea of rolling out a Kevlar sheet on the roadbed before laying down the asphalt.

They figured that even in harsh conditions, roads could last a decade or two between repairs. It would cost more up front, but more than pay for itself in short order.

What Phillips didn’t count on was that every state in the US had a powerful road repair lobby, often affiliated with organized crime, and backed by strong unions. And such an invention would put 9 out of 10 of these companies out of business.

Which is why today we still have cracked and potholed roadways that get crappy patches every year.


39 posted on 05/14/2014 7:40:07 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Dr. Sivana

The line in the song referred to a playground that was paved over for a parking lot.


40 posted on 05/14/2014 7:40:22 AM PDT by MHGinTN
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To: oh8eleven

RE: How many snowfalls before the panels are destroyed?

I don’t think it is intended for places that snow.


41 posted on 05/14/2014 7:40:49 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Seems to me that the roofs of big-box stores would be ideal. 1 - No traffic to destroy them, 2) they are located where people use power, so they reduce the need for transmission lines. Also, it seems the power could be used directly instead of stored for use at night. This would greatly reduce the capital cost. (A hot, sunny day make more power, but needs more power because of more A/C use.)


42 posted on 05/14/2014 7:42:34 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (I tweet, too... @Onelifetogive)
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To: rjsimmon
Their idea for a durable surface would be better served as a roofing material or similar structure, but for a road, not so much

Bingo. Decent idea. Poor application.

43 posted on 05/14/2014 7:44:18 AM PDT by wbill
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To: SeekAndFind

And they are cool to the touch?? And won’t cook a dog that crosses the road? (Calling Joeprobono).


44 posted on 05/14/2014 7:48:45 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Dr. Sivana

I could see these floating at sea rather than windmills in Lakes and Oceans...which I think is disgusting.


45 posted on 05/14/2014 7:51:05 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
every state in the US had a powerful road repair lobby, often affiliated with organized crime, and backed by strong unions.

Which is exactly why Obama is out this week crying about the need for more money to fix roads and bridges.

Construction Union Wages have gone up some 30% since Obama became pResident. Any other workers seeing that kind of raise?

46 posted on 05/14/2014 7:51:15 AM PDT by digger48
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To: Gaffer

I agree with your maintenance concerns. Roads and lots are very expensive to maintain over time with the technologies that we currently have. As of about 5 years ago, Germany dialed in the correct ROI ratio considering highway maintenance. Winter’s kill roads more than traffic, especially asphalt. Concrete is far more resilient but also more expensive. Moving toward this technology would be EXTREMELY expensive to install and I would guess more so to maintain. As in all things with “alternative” energy, an honest ROI would suggest this is many years ahead of practicality, regardless of how much energy could be produced.

Since we are talking about innovative concepts... Embedding small electromagnets and circuitry in concrete roadways could also be used to produce energy. The passing cars could be used by the system to produce some electrical current. But in this case, you would be stealing some of the energy from moving automobiles (assuming they are built of metal).


47 posted on 05/14/2014 7:52:09 AM PDT by Tenacious 1 (Tagline deleted at the request of an offended FReeper.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Roads are expensive enough to build and maintain as it is, so let's make them more expensive and difficult to maintain.
48 posted on 05/14/2014 7:52:19 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government." --Tacitus)
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To: ShadowAce

When I look up at tall office buildings with the sun glinting off of glass over the entire building, I wonder about solar panels there too. Maybe there is a reason that it hasn’t been addressed.


49 posted on 05/14/2014 7:53:37 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: Dr. Sivana
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich! Yup. Eighty pages of rules on 8 1/2" x 11" paper in 7 point type. You set all up, and a skilled player gets Germany to win in 20 minutes!

I was going to say everytime I played Germany won, but thought that might have been an overstatement.

Always loved using the special counters and getting the Turkey draw bringing them into the Axis camp.

50 posted on 05/14/2014 7:54:51 AM PDT by ealgeone (obama, borderof)
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