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Solar Roadways--Pluses Minuses and Interesting Points?  RSS feed

Joshua Myrvaagnes
Posts: 579
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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There's a project to rebuild highways, parking lots, roads, sidewalks with solar cells that also can have LEDs to mark lanes/parking spaces etc. and heating elements to melt snow (instead of salt). This seems like a good idea. They estimate that at 15% efficiency solar cells covering the street area of the USA could power this country three times over. It would also replace telephone and cable lines and put these underground, and channel run-off water to a better place (I did not see details).

I didn't see a thread about this existing, if it's redundant can you please direct me to it mods? Thanks!

--it gets people to rethink roads
--it is a better use of the space to stack functions
--reducing salt of the roads would be a huge plus
--the asphalt heats and degrades when not used; this would make it useful
--raised 2 million in crowdsourcing
--if it breaks when a vehicle's going over it at 65mph , it's probably no worse than if asphalt opens up a pothole or if there is one you just didn't see.

--the cradle to grave cost in energy and ecological impact is unclear to me; even ig it's better than asphalt, it may still not be in the black ecologically
--parking spaces are in total shade much of the day, except the areas at edges of cars, and even these get little direct sunlight outside the tropics
--questions about the tempered glass material strength and costs of that
--releatively high-tech: circuit boards etc.
--it's been hyped, bashed, and I'm generally more cautious of anything that's got a bunch of mainstream enthusiasm
--the swag for their indiegogo does not look to be very mindfully produced
--don't think we need roads as much as we need to find the value in where we already are, plus ways to communicate information (telecommute, share wisdom, cooperate globally)
--safety on actual highway unsure
--if it breaks when a vehicle is going at 65 mph that's not the time you want to find out
--unclear where the power is stored/loss in communication cell-to-cell

interesting points
--that there is that much space going essentially unused
--as asphalt it's already not growing space or anything else space
--Federal Highway Administration would actually fund something like this (R&D)
--muncipality in Idaho actually building some prototypes in parking lots
--replaceable cells may make more sense than re-paving a whole street
--you could make dummy cells that don't have solar panel or LED or circuitry to fill spots that wouldn't get sunlight or be seen (under parked cars)
--they actually gained more solar energy in overcast than direct sun (in northern Idaho latitude--not angled for the sun at all or retro-angled if street was)
-- makes people feel good about something potentially constructive
--even if it doesn't work, it's worth trying a bunch of things and seeing what sticks
--municipal projects are being done anyway, perhaps they would pay for themselves partially or wholly if they produced energy
--producing more energy doesn't connect us to doing things with our own body power
--restates a problem that hadn't looked as clear previously
--if we had no more vehicles and no use of roads for travel, having the highway system become a power grid partly or fully could be useful--you can't grow stuff there anyway without pulling up the asphalt
--solar panels could be put down on top of asphalt perhaps even without the rest of the scheme

Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10076
Location: Portugal
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We have a thread here discussing some of the issues.
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The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
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