Solar Roadways, the novel idea of supplying electricity to a community by means of installing solar panels on roads and highways has surpassed its goal by crowd sourcing $1.4 million over the weekend. The organizers of the huge-scale project, Julie and Scott Brusaw were hoping to raise $1 million for their project so that they can hire engineers who will make the final settings and changes so that they can start production.
Now that they have surpassed their million mark, they hope to reach their target by starting to install solar roadways projects at the year’s end. However, they admitted that they will need much more than this amount if they are to cover the entire roads in the United States.
The Solar Roadways Project
This Solar Roadways project has been in the drawing boards since the mid-2000s. The couple has introduced the concept through several blog posts and videos. It is really a very simple idea where the regular road is replaced with hard-wearing solar cells.
The solar power cells are made more functional by adding electronic accessories such as touch sensors and LED lights. They have also added electronic and control features such as illuminated road markings, roads that melts ice and snow and so forth. Looking into the future, this kind of electrified and networked solar roadways could also be a move towards safe utilization of self-driving cars and the adoption of PV on a wider scale.
The idea of the Solar Roadways Project is praiseworthy. It could solve the country’s energy problems because by using solar power panels on roads and highways, instead of the common concrete and asphalt, the United States can produce three times more electricity than is normally consumed by its citizens.
The country will no longer rely too much on fossil fuel, and the air and atmosphere will be cleaner because CO2 emissions will be drastically reduced. By looking at it on paper, it is no wonder that many people have contributed their funds and pledged their support for this project.
However, given the reality of geopolitics, the jump from the drawing boards to large scale production and deployment might not be in the near future. But this project really deserves the support especially by those who are feeling the pinch of the high cost of energy.
As far as strength is concerned, the glass panels have been tested extensively and they were found to withstand the crushing weight of even the heaviest trucks. The cost of production of these solar roadways can even be reduced by using recycled glass. In fact, the prototypes that were tested were composed of 10% recycled glass.
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Additional attractive features make these solar road panels very functional. They contain heating elements that will melt snow and ice, which will reduce maintenance and accidents during winter.
The solar roadways power panels can also be equipped with LED lights so that they can double up as road lines, and road warning signs, which have proven to reduce night time road accidents. Additionally, the road panels can also be used for charging electric vehicles making them even more functional.