Skip to comments.Everything you need to know about Solar Roadways.
Posted on 06/02/2014 9:17:22 AM PDT by Twotone
Video about a new solar panel technology.
It sounds great, all the way up until the tire tracks, and dripped oil, and overloaded semis, and flattened tires, and all the other stuff that beats up and coats our roads start happening.
Not to mention what winter does to the roads here in the north.
Where do they get all the rare earth minerals needed to make all those solar panels? To say nothing of the problem of damage, replacement, how do they work in Chicago or Minnesota in the winter.
Let CA and Oregon try it first. They are no used to keeping their own $$$ anyway,
It can also be used on sidewalks & other places. I agree that there would no doubt be problems on roads, but there are other options that would seem to reasonable.
One correction to my original comment - it was on the Weather Channel (which we’d turned to briefly for the local weather), not F&F.
Actually, if you look at a freeway, the main wear is in pretty centralized areas. Most of the surface goes pretty much unscathed. Local highways are generally wider than necessary, and much of the surface would remain rather infrequently used.
I do see some concerns along the lines of what you mention, but I’m not convinced they’re deal breakers.
Certain costs associated with roadways would be eliminated altogether. Some of those reductions could be used for repairs. And if the energy production reaches it’s full potential, this would by far more than pay for itself.
The panels are warm. Snow melts. In colder regions, these could actually be a fairly good thing.
I assume it will essentially be a panel behind a glass window. Good luck with the traction on that baby. A wet day will be like an oil slick.
Of course, this is about attention and PR, because there’s plenty of space on the sides of most roads for solar panels that don’t need to be DRIVEN OVER.
Not all solar panels are built with Cadmium telluride. Crystalline silicon works as well.
I think it’s good for decks and patios, sidewalks get almost as much accumulated dirt as roads. It’s a neat idea, with potential, but like so many alternative energy plans not nearly as much potential as proponents hope for.
. . .and where are they going to store all the toxic byproducts of mining and refining those rare earths ? Or deal with the fact that solar cell output drops over time, necessitating replacement.
Then there are the networking and power transmission and storage requirements.
Basically, the real problem is Commander Scott’s objection:
“Ye kenna chainge the laws ‘o physics. . . .”
The “main wear” area being near cities where you need electricity. Although the hinterlands have their own problems, the ever popular desert brown road.
I don’t think any of the costs of roads go away, they’re going to have to sit on something, which will have to have all the usual flattening and sealing done to it. Basically you’re looking at a road with a much more expensive top, and more manual labor to put the top in place, and it’s less durable. Very little chance it generates enough electricity to come near offsetting itself.
I’ve been wrong before, but I believe there’s something to this. Of course I thought wind generation was a great idea too years ago.
The big problems are durability and cleanliness. It’s got to be able to take a massive beating, and find a way for the sun to still get to it after thousands of cars have left their dirt on it. And I think the cleanliness will be the hardest one to solve, it’s amazing how dirty roads are. They put in decorative cross walks in downtown Tucson a decade or so ago, used colored bricks, really pretty for about 6 months, then they grey started hitting them hard, by the end of the first year they’re basically invisible, you can see the texture of the bricks but they’re the same color as the rest of the road. No way solar panels will work with that much grunge on them.
But I have often wondered why they don't do something like this for driveways or parking lots. A while back there were some advocating for some type of paving blocks that grass would grow on, which looked like a good idea for parking lots where it wouldn't get as hot as pavement does. Especially lots that don't fill totally up except maybe during the holidays or during sporting events.
There’s truth in what you say. I have noticed how dirty roadways are. Let me ask you this. If these roadways operated at 1/3rd optimal rating, they would supply the energy needs for the nation, would that be a bad thing?
At full rating, they supposedly would provide enough energy to supply the nation’s needs three times. Folks make a lot of wild claims, so this is for what it’s worth.
How much do they cost? How long do they last? How much electricity does each one have to produce to create any kind of a payback before they are not working and a hazard?
But are they going to be able to run at 1/3 optimal? And how expensive will this be to lay down? Especially when compared to nuclear power plants? Plus of course with so much roadway so far away most electrical usage there’s a lot of infrastructure to be added to move the electricity and a lot of power will be lost along the way? And how long will this project take? From the passing of the interstate highway act to the project being declared “done” (even though it really wasn’t) was 36 years, replacing all that with solar panels is probably another multidecade multitrillion dollar project.
The first step for this is really parking lots, if it’s a good idea it will be proven by the retail sector there. Let it get proven there before we sign up future generations on something that has a good chance, at least with known technology and conditions, of not actually being a good idea.
I’m for testing too. I do think your major concerns about roadways needs to be tested in that type of environment though.
I’m not sure how much of the article you read, but the ability to reconfigure parking lots in minutes seems like a very good option. There are a number of great features involved in this.
There are a myriad of interesting points covered by the video and web site.
Power cabling is part of the plan.
They really do seem to have given this a lot of thought. Creators of new projects often miss or overlook the negatives, so good push-back may lead to improvements, or even ultimately a rejection of the idea.
We’ll see what happens. I predict nothing. People come out with a lot of idea that sound great on paper (or these days on youtube) that go nowhere. If it has potential we’ll find out at mall parking lots.
I agree with that. I will say though, that even if parking lots show promise, there are going to be folks who will say it will never work on a roadway. Put it on a test roadway and see.
If it works on parking lots I’ll probably work on local streets and freeways near cities. Middle of nowhere freeways could still be an issue due to power transmission issues. But really at city level that’s a lot of power.
Unless you've lived here in Michigan, you don't know the half of it.......freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw all winter long. Our roads this spring have been the worst I've ever seen.....
yea... just a union project trying to get funding
meanwhile, anyone that’s driven on wet cobblestones will tell you how great the traction is.
then just imagine that at 80mph
it’s be quicker and easier to put in solar powered network repeaters and have your car pick up and display the info.
sorry, did that use too much commonsense?
stop using tar. concrete handles it better (but is generally not run by the mob/unions)
Sudden stops and accelerations would tear it apart.......plus you'd need to hire someone to mow the parking lot... :)
i see you know all about trucks.
We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for the discussion.
The roads I'm talking about ARE concrete and you can't patch concrete with concrete because concrete has to set and dry,........
That is the coloring dye fading/wearing out. The technology to dye the concrete has changed so it lasts longer now.
Asphalt is made from oil, not coal tar.........
No, that’s dirt and grunge getting ground into it.
Those used to be red brick, now they’re tire colored brick. And if those were solar panels it’s going to be hard for them to see the sun through all that crud.
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Wait for the homeless to start removing the panels and selling them for scrap. The glass cover would be great when it rains and some poor slob on a motorcycle goes sliding off the road. or a panel develops a short and blows up under a car should be fun times.
I don't think you know what you speak of.
If this is such a great idea, don’t use any taxpayer money to fund it. Otherwise, it is a scam and an attempt to steal yet more from the taxpayer.