Replacing roads with solar panels is such an amazing idea, the kind kids come up with after passing around a bong. The details make it a nightmare.
The far easier solution, at least in the southwest is to put up panels over parking lots. Massive open spaces, above ground so maintenance VASTLY easier and the shade produced by the panels on the cars provides benefits like shade and reduced A/C use. No untried technology to do it unlike creating glass roadbeds...LOL!
A shed roof placed above cars and trucks, would accomplish this for less money than rebuilding the road. The roof would have the added benefit of keeping snow and rain off of the roadway. The panels would not need to withstand the weight of cars and trucks. Power could be transferred directly to large vehicles, just as happens with buses that run on overhead wires.
I believe that this scheme is nothing more than a scam meant to raise money. I don't expect to ever drive down a solar roadway that is environmentally sensible or financially viable.
I actually have a solar roadway at my farm. Tall trees shade the road during most of the day. They produce firewood and timber. The only maintenance requirement, is that I must harvest wood from time to time. My chainsaw can process about 350 pounds of firewood on a charge that uses 3 cents worth of electricity.
Becky Mundt wrote:Honestly, I cannot say how I came across this but I thought it was pretty darn cool. No, nothing is perfect. But this seems like a viable plan to consider.
The folks here have a long history - have done a ton of work to build and create this thing - and are now just wanting to build it - to they are crowd funding it. I joined up and got in just because it is the coolest cool thing I've seen in a long time and I thought "why NOT?" I'd love to help them get more attention and get the word out - etll me if you guys think this is as cool as I think it is - or could be - and by all means, if you do - pass it on! Thanks!!! Oh, and - the usual disclaimer - I ahve absolutely nothing, nada, nil, zip, zilch to gain from promoting them here - I just think we can use all the cool stuff like this we can get - imagine a roadway that powers the nation... uh huh. that's what I'm talking about... and these folks seem to have it figured.
There is so much wrong with this that it is hard to know where to begin.
* One of the things they tout is programmable signage. Sounds great till you stick it out in the sun and watch the signage 'wash out'. Same effect of trying to read your iphone screen in broad daylight.
* The distribution costs become prohibitive.
* The roadway requires more maintenance than a regular road.
* The cost per mile is orders of magnitude more than either blacktop or concrete.
But the worst item is the use case. Think US101 or any CA highway at commute time. What is it covered with? cars. So in the morning, noon and afternoon part of the critical period when the sun shines the roadway will be covered in cars producing little or no electricity. So half the time the roadway will not be generating. Solar projects have enough trouble economically with full solar access. There is no way a project can be viable with half the solaration blocked.
Better solution -- cover solar exposed car parks with solar arrays. Acquire two income steams. One for the juice produced and another for the additional protection for the cars.
Bottom line -- not viable with existing tech.
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