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Solar Roadways
4

Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways

(OP)
I rarely keep up with news but I saw this on CNN and thought it looked really interesting. I'm always skeptical of these "green" visionaries trying to change the world, but this guy's an EE of 20 years, has been working with several universities, the US Federal Highway Administration, and more so it seems to be at least somewhat credible.

He's got a site with some videos explaining the concepts and he's also addressed a lot of potential issues in an FAQ.

The biggest potential issue I see with this is cost, which he briefly brings up in the FAQ but gives no estimate for. But I'm not Electrical or Civil, so I'm sure there are a lot of other potential issues out there that I can't think of.

Anybody else heard about this?

RE: Solar Roadways

Cost, long term cleanliness affecting power generation, just how much of the grids power can really come from solar panel/how to handle over generation by day V almost none at night, ROI in parts of the country with less sunlight, over heating in parts of the country with lots of sunlight...

I realize the FAQ mentions most of these but from what I read it doesn't give a very robust or quantitative response.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Solar Roadways

Almost any actual road will be getting at least an order of magnitude more abuse than their parking lot testbed. An actual highway will be at least two orders of magnitude.

Additionally - how much net power are they actually producing, with their powered stripes and heaters sucking down electricity?

If you want to use a parking lot to generate solar power, it will almost certainly be cheaper and more effective* to mount regular solar panels above the cars, with the added benefit of offering shade and weather protection.

Angling the solar panels for drainage is probably interesting as well...

*No pesky cars blocking the sunlight, and you can angle the panels optimally.

RE: Solar Roadways

Oh good. The lines will be LEDs and all the panels are wirelessly connected. Hours of entertainment.

RE: Solar Roadways

I missed the "wireless charging of electric vehicles while moving" part on the first read-through. Induction, I suppose. A continuous line of induction chargers.

RE: Solar Roadways

Just thinking, but for induction to work, the car must be moving in relation to the magnitic field (a given).
A car with no energy, and a stationary field (like perminite magnetcs), would recieve no charge.
A car moving at the same rate as the field in moving would recieve no charge.
So the optimal field would be to move in the oposite direction of the moving trafic, which would produce the maximum induction, and a higher relitive frequency to the recieving coil.

One problem is to support the maximum electrical efficency, you need to tune the circuit to react to the driving (no pun intended) frequency. But since the circuit will keep changing it will require an active tuning of the circuit.

If there is a power transfer between the power company (or agent), and the vehicle owner, how do you bill for the energy, or is it assumed a fixed cost? If an electric meter is used, who reads it, and if the power consumed was from more power provider, how is that devided between the providers?
How would a driver know when his energy rate has changed? Would there be even more road side signs for that?

RE: Solar Roadways

I would invite anybody considering making roads out of anything but simple pavement to come drive So. Peoria Ave, near my house. You'd think you had square wheels. Looks like more infrastucture problems to me.

Regards,

Mike

RE: Solar Roadways

Like most of the other technologies that are going to change the world, this one makes me skeptical. I don't know if these questions are stupid, so everyone please feel free to educate me.
-Road grit is abrasive. How long will that surface stay transparent enough to produce usable power?
-What happens to it when somebody decides to spin donuts on it in the middle of an intersection, or rip a handbrake turn?
-How reflective is the surface, and how will the resulting glare, if any, affect people in the surrounding buildings, aircraft pilots, etc.?
-How do you transmit the resulting power through a distribution system that is already overloaded in some high-use areas?
-How do you store or get rid of the excess power? He talks about "virtual storage" (pumping it into the grid during the day and back out at night), but it seems like this would create transmission issues as we shuttle large amounts of energy back and forth.
-He seems to insinuate that significant market penetration could/should force a conversion to a DC current-based grid. Does this seem not only overly optimistic, but wildly impractical to implement to anyone but me?

I like the technology conceptually, but I think implementation will be a mother.

RE: Solar Roadways

This does seem outlandishly optimistic. I cannot see the incremental cost between this and traditional methods being within the realm of practicality. They didn’t publish any figures on this which only adds to my skepticism.

However, whenever I find myself skeptical about these technologies that offer massive shifts in infrastructure, I think about how England installed a subway system in the 19th century (albeit right at the end of the 19th century). Could you imagine how that conversation would have gone? “You want to do what?!? Dig a bunch of tunnels under our city, with buildings and people above, and have trains go into them to take people around the city? Do you know how much this is going to cost? What about the safety issues? We already have roads and trolleys, why on Earth would we need to build this system? It’s ludicrously expensive, unsafe, untested and unnecessary!”

Although the analogy isn’t a perfect match (different economic situation, much cheaper labour but less developed technology), I think it highlights that “crazy” ideas of old are now routine today….even still, I can’t shake the opinion that this is pie-in-the-sky thinking. Certainly some neat ideas though. I’d be very interested to see test projects in parking lots (although I agree with TomDOT, canopy still solar farms in parking lots are likely more well suited) and sidewalks/outdoor malls.

RE: Solar Roadways

FYI, the grid is not a battery. For every bit of energy that is put into it, it is used are the same rate. Also for every bit that is taken out of it, it must be generated somewhere.

Granted there is a small portion of stored energy, but with efficenciey rates around 50%, they aren't very viable except as play things.

Educate you. The electric transmission system, commonly called the grid, is not a storage system. It transmits energy, from producer to consumer, nothing more. No more magical than the drive shaft in your car.

I do like the idea of softer roads, as it will make tires last longer, but will it effect traction?

RE: Solar Roadways

No power would be generated in Atlanta between 3:30pm and 6:30pm on weekdays.

Just saying.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Solar Roadways

Would underground sections produce much energy from cars headlights?

I guess with over head street lights, if they can keep me up at night, they can generate some energy.

RE: Solar Roadways

cranky, the amounts produced from those sources would be.... negligible. Like 0.01% of sunlight, if it is even enough to activate the panel.

RE: Solar Roadways

My point is, any solution will be assumed to be universal, and applied everywhere. You should know that.

RE: Solar Roadways

One of the ideas I read about was using the idea of induction charging with something like city buses. An electric bus would leave the yard in the morning fully charged and then at each bus stop there would be an induction charging unit installed in the pavement where the bus would be sitting when loading and unloading passengers. While this was going on, the bus could be at least partially recharged. Even with only getting a small charge at each stop this could still extend to range of the bus and since in many places, when a bus is running on time, they must actually delay leaving each stop so as to not get ahead of schedule so this extra time could be used to increase the level of charge. They could also schedule extra 'charging stops' as needed during the course of the day's route. Granted, this is not the same as a full-time electrified roadway, but it could provide for an albeit specialized implementation. The same could be done with delivery vehicles making regular stops at retail stores where a designated unloading/charging location could be set-up in say the alley or reserved loading/unloading area near the retail stores. And it could apply to school buses as well.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Solar Roadways

And if there were no people getting on or off at some stop, they would have to stop anyway.

Proposed, make induction recharging at every stop light, as they are normally red and we have to stop anyway for the full cycle.
One problem is it would cause induction heating on metal parts that may not be intended as recharging elements. Sort of bad for gas trucks.

Woulden't it be strange to see for example milk trucks stoping at bus stops?

Would the electric rate be the same for cars as for homes? Or would road taxes be added to car electric rates?

RE: Solar Roadways

No road taxes on NG. Yet.

Regards,

Mike

RE: Solar Roadways

The infrastructure cost of putting an inductive charger at every traffic signal would be ridiculously high, with ridiculously low usage rates.

Other than edge cases, like a bus - most vehicles spend the vast majority of their time parked. Much, much, much cheaper with much higher potential usage to just install more charging stations in parking lots. Once we have enough electric cars to warrant it, anyway.

There are plenty of SAE J1772 Level 2 stations here in Austin, and most surrounding small cities have at least one.

There is also a Tesla Supercharger on the way to other major cities in Texas (San Marcos, on the way to San Antonio. Columbus, on the way to Houston. Waco, on the way to DFW. Corsicana and Huntsville on I-45)

...but even that's mostly un-needed. Most commuters can simply charge overnight at home, and not use public charging the vast majority of the time. It's like a cell phone - simply charge overnight at home, maybe top it off at work. You don't go to some dedicated charge station at the phone store and wait while it charges.

RE: Solar Roadways

Question: What is the cost to charge an electric car at one of these charging stations?
What is the tax surcharge to charge a car at home to offset the road taxes?

Why is exempting some cars from road taxes a good thing?

RE: Solar Roadways

Cost at the charging stations is variable. A fair number of them are free, such as all Tesla stations.

Tax surcharge: Some states have an electric vehicle tax for roads (not many) - most electricity is taxed @ home, though it is not generally directed at roads.

The absolute number of electrics on the road today is tiny. I'm sure the taxes will be taken care of when they have a larger share.

RE: Solar Roadways

One can argue that bikes should be taxed.

However there are three factors (in my mind) that should compose road taxes.
1. a damage factor, to pay for the damage caused on the road. Where most cars, and bikes don't cause very much damage.
2. conjestion factor, to pay for the extra lanes required to carry all the cars on the road. Should be small for each vehicle.
3. Cost to pay for the road to start with. I'm not sure why we need more roads where the conjestion fee would not cover.

Maintenance should go under 1 or 2 above.

Now we would have to add the adminstrative fee for collecting the taxes, which I estimate to be quite high. Or I am paying someone elses share of the first two taxes.

So who collects the solar road energy credits? Is it to reduce damage taxes, or conjection taxes?

RE: Solar Roadways

Quote:

Why is exempting some cars from road taxes a good thing?

Less smog?

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Solar Roadways

Here in California, owners of 'Zero/Near Zero' emission vehicles can apply for a special decal for their cars which will allow them to drive alone in the HOV or car-pool lanes. While this is a non-monetary incentive it's still there is encourage people to drive low/zero emission vehicles particularly when commuting to and from work. BTW, motorcycles are also allowed in the HOV lanes, again I assume due to their having lower emssions than a normal car.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Solar Roadways

With a motorcycle, there is less trafic conjestion, and in fact you really don't need that extra 10,000 lbs to carry your ego around.
Also with a motorcycle you pay a lot more tax when you buy it (compaired to a small car). And most people don't put very many miles on them, as they would a car.

I would be happer if the roads were smarter, and I had fewer red lights. Has anyone studied the decrease in gas millage because of signel light settings?

RE: Solar Roadways

Quote (cranky108)


I would be happer if the roads were smarter, and I had fewer red lights. Has anyone studied the decrease in gas millage because of signel light settings?

After having driven in the UK on several occasions and therefore becoming familiar with them, I've noticed recently that 'traffic-circles', or 'roundabouts', are starting to show-up here in this country. Now I don't mean the sort of thing one sees in the center of some small quaint village somewhere, but rather regular four-way intersections out in the suburbs. In my old neighborhood back in West Bloomfield, MI several have been built in the last couple of years. Even up in Washington state where my wife used to live there's one right off a busy freeway exit where traffic it being directed to service roads where trucks are making deliveries to businesses and the backside of retail malls. They certainly eliminate traffic signals and if properly understood by the driving public can certainly save gas and keep traffic flowing (I always considered the UK 'roundabouts' as being one of the most civilized things about driving in the UK, once you got past the 'right-hand' drive issue).

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Solar Roadways

John R Baker, then you must not have driven in Basingstoke where they got a bit carried away with roundabouts.

Or for that matter on some of the freeway exits/junctions where they install a roundabout, but traffic flow gets so heavy they have to add traffic lights as well - a real mess.

However, used appropriately they do have advantages over 4 way stops and traffic lights.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Solar Roadways

Mostly up near Cambridge, Peterborough. Leicester and Nottingham. But I might have been through Basingstoke since I once spent a weekend in Andover and drove out to Salisbury and Stonehenge.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Solar Roadways

Properly designed roundabouts* are great. Much higher throughput than a 4-way stop, usually higher throughput than a signalized intersection, most traffic doesn't have to stop, crashes are reduced, and crashes tend to be much less serious (shallow angle rather than the T-bones you see at a conventional intersection.)


*Entering traffic yields to traffic already in the roundabout, there are no added traffic signal lights

RE: Solar Roadways

The only problem with roundabouts, from the ones I've seen here, is that people don't understand them or the concept of yield. We get a lot of drivers from Calafornia (sp?) and it seems then expect everyone else to yield for them. I've even run some off the road because they expected me to let them in.

And round abouts are so beatuiful with the flowers growing in the middle, and the deer eating them. But truthfuly the roundabouts are better than lights.

RE: Solar Roadways

To get back on topic, we could even put the solar panels in the middle of the roundabouts cheaper and with higher output than embedding them in the road ;)

RE: Solar Roadways

A roundabout on a fast "A" road in the UK makes a great chicane. Racing line in, extra grippy surface to the apex, plenty of space to drift on the exit. All within the speed limit too.

- Steve

RE: Solar Roadways

Sompting, one memorable bus ride in your neck of the woods (Brighton to Lewes) back from a stag night the Bus drive decided to take the racing line on a roundabout. This actually meant going the wrong way and treating it like a chicane.

The best man tried to tip the driver after that (well and as compensation for our loud renditions of assorted rude rugby etc. songs) - he refused saying 'nah I get paid to do this'.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Solar Roadways

I tried to ride a double decker in Peru, and had to duck for all the phone wires.

In a round about, the middle is sort of wasted space, so solar panels are as good as anything.

Here the round abouts are small, and the locals want to see flowers.

RE: Solar Roadways

The solar roads thing is the biggest piece of dumb-@ssery I've seen in a long time. Even forgetting about the fundamental economics for a second, which is the reason we're going to continue fossil fuels use with gusto, this idea is idiotic. I truly want to see us move to renewables as much as possible, but roads are NOT the place to do that! Road pavement is the very LAST place I would imagine a solar panel that generates more energy than it took to make before it is destroyed! There are so many things wrong with this idea I don't even know where to start. It's a complete non-starter. Roof-mount installations make vastly more sense! For one thing, they're in the urban areas where people are actually using the electricity! When all the roofs are covered, covering parking lots would be the next lowest hanging fruit.

RE: Solar Roadways

But just think of the money you could make if you got the contract to build and replace all of those solar panels$$$$$$$$$

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

RE: Solar Roadways

Well, they certainly have an effective PR machine. I'm seeing puff pieces on this fantasy pop up all over the place.

RE: Solar Roadways

I think the road to wealth in the future will be to design something of little actual value then convince politicians to mandate its use or to fund its development. Everything else will be regulated out of existence.

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

RE: Solar Roadways

I actually think we should start the solar road thing on under passes. With the over pass above it, it won't be damaged by hail stormes, or UV rays.

RE: Solar Roadways

Cranky, I hope you were making sarcastic comment since anything done to protect solar cells from hail storms, and particularly UV rays, will almost certainly prevent sunlight from actually reaching the solar cells themselves winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Solar Roadways

Why would you think I was being anything but sarcastic? My point is think it through before you go this route. Just because you can do this, dosen't mean you should, or there won't be any unexpected problems (like hail, or UV).
Making a roadway clear so you can install solar panels, will mean changeing the surfacing materials, which is a very big issue. Placing the solar panels on the median, or side will mean they will be hit by bad drivers, and as of this time there are requirments for breakaway poles for street lights, so I would expect the same for solar poles (unless solar is exempt for regular rules).

Now one idea would be to put the panels above the street lights, on the same poles, but as that would make the whole thing more top heavy, and wind catching, a larger pole would be required. So when this whole contraption comes down on a car that has hit the pole, will it do more harm (I guess yes), and is it a hazard in it self.

Now maybe we could do something with those big clover leafs, as there is much unused space, but with the efficies in the panels, and lights, I would not expect this to be self providing requiring no energy from the grid. So I ask, why not fill these spaces with native plants that require little maintenance?

RE: Solar Roadways

cranky, if we buried them they'd be even better protected!

What this piece of idiotic fluff should teach us all is that there's an endless appetite on the part of many people for a single deus ex machine technical solution for our energy problems. Politicians are the biggest backers of this kind of magical thinking, because it will get them off the hook from doing something very hard, unpopular and politically suicidal but nonetheless necessary- making fossil energy more expensive so that we, the consumers of energy, provide an economic driving force to fund alternatives that actually make economic sense.

Regrettably, there are hordes of charlatans, or at best utterly deluded "inventors" who haven't done the math, who are eager to sell this magical snake oil to the public- either indirectly through government grants, or directly like these guys through crowdsourcing.

As P.T. Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute. And as Murphy added, there are two born to take him.

Solar pavements for walkways? Maybe, once every roof and south-facing wall (in the N hemisphere anyway) is already occupied...But roads that vehicles drive on? Seriously? What kind of idiot would you need to be to think that would EVER be a feasible solution? Take one look at a road- anywhere, any time- and you'll immediately see ten reasons why this is a complete non-starter. My dad with his gr 8 education would see immediately that this particular emperor has no clothes!

RE: Solar Roadways

Solar roadways would only be useful on lightly-travelled roads; the more traffic, the more time the sun won't hit the surface of the road.

RE: Solar Roadways

Solar sidewalks you said? That might work as long as you don't mind rough sidewalks.

No lets start with solar carports. When they start giving these away, I'll take one.

Maybe solar garden sheds. I'll take one of these too.

How about a giant metal flower, with solar panels for leafs. We can put one in every park, and call it art.

But at some point we will have the idea of a solar highway tunnel.

RE: Solar Roadways

Solar tunnel is easy. Use the solar panels to power big bright lights. Problem solved.

- Steve

RE: Solar Roadways

The problem with futurests is there ideas don't always work. The problem with gamblers is they will gamble on just about anything. When the two get togather we have these one of a kind projects that just don't quite work, and are way over budget.

The problem with solar sidewalks is that people drive on sidewalks. I'm sure there are a few applications that would work, but in general I don't see it, just like I don't see solar roadways everywhere.

I just think some people like Hype, and some people get carried away with the latest fad.

RE: Solar Roadways

Heh.

When solar roofs become commonplace, then I will maybe entertain the idea of solar roadways.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Solar Roadways

If you have a solar roof, the fire department may choose to not put out your house fire because of concerns of being electicuted. That interesting detail might make your insurance unafforadble.
Go with the solar car port.

RE: Solar Roadways

Okay, explain that to me. Why would a house be a higher risk for electrocution if it had solar panels on the roof? My current home does not, but it's still plumbed to 110AC, which I would think is a lot more dangerous than whatever DC trickle that comes out of a burning solar panel.

Use small words. I'm a CE, which makes me a 'conscientious objector' to Coulomb's Law.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Solar Roadways

cranky, where did you hear that particular piece of nonsense?

RE: Solar Roadways

beej - a few items:

1) The firefighters can easily cut the mains power from the ground, unlike the solar.

2) Solar DC is typically inverted to AC, and connects to all the wiring in the house.

Not electrical, but still an issue:

3) Solar panels interfere with their ability to open up the roof and vent superheated gases. It is much safer to make an entry down below after venting. The panels both interfere with walking on the roof to get to the location they want to cut (can't support the weight of firefighter + gear, typically) and physically block them from making the cut - have to remove the panel, then hack into the roof.

RE: Solar Roadways

As I said, go with the solar car port.

I diden't make this up. It's been in the news (or I guess what news you look at will be different).

RE: Solar Roadways

Cranky - I absolutely agree on the solar carport.

In fact, in the 3rd post in the thread, I suggested simply mounting the panels above the cars in the parking lot. Tomato/Tomahto

RE: Solar Roadways

At the GM Tech Center in Warren, MI, in the employees partking lot, they have several of what looks like little 'car-ports' with solar panels on the roof where people who drive Chevy Volts can park and change their cars for free. Now I suspect that the solar panels on the roofs of these structures are only providing a portion of the power needed with the rest being supplied by a connection to the sites power grid, but it's a step in the right direction.

http://fastlane.gm.com/2013/06/14/gm-amps-up-workp...

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Solar Roadways

Wow, my apologies to cranky! But that's just plain nuts! Not designing the solar installation to be safe during fire- that's commonsense, and I'm sure NEC and CEC revisions will catch up on their respective 5 yr rev cycles- but if it came down to firefighters being too scared to enter a building for rescue because of solar panels on the roof, that's just crazy.

RE: Solar Roadways

(OP)
Since solar panels that do everything are all the rage now, we should get some of those to put on roofs. They will be solar panels of course, strong enough for people to walk on, and textured for traction. They can melt snow on top of your roof in the winter so Santa doesn't have any issues. There will be LED lights that light up when reindeer step on them. Programmable LED designs will mean you don't have to hang Christmas lights anymore. Just pick a design and it appears on your roof! We'll put all the electronics and power cables in the gutters (the best place for electronics right?) which will also be able to filter the rainwater coming off the roof so your grass gets only the cleanest water on it. For the firefighters, we'll add the ability for the panels to cut holes in the roof with built in saws. We can put induction chargers in the panels as well so they can charge airplanes flying overhead, which will drastically reduce the need for jet fuel. Electric jets will make a comeback. I've estimated that I'll need about a million dollars to put these on my house. I'll post a link soon if you want to donate.

RE: Solar Roadways

It looks to me that solar is the latest fad, and now every one is trying to propose the coolest (or hotest, whatever is the latest term) ideas.

I'll just throwout the idea of solar tires, with built in batteries, and electric motor. Where each can be controled by wifi, and cars would no longer need to use any fuels.

In place of solar roads, why not go back to glow in the dark road stripes.

RE: Solar Roadways

We installed a solar car port in 2010 for the VA in Martinsburg, WV. Biggest problem has been not enough electric vehicles to justify additional capacity. That, and while the DoE may be pushing for charging stations for prviate sector employees, government employees are not allowed to use the federal charging stations. By the time enough electrical vehicles are sold in WV, the rest of the world will be driving the hovercars that the Jetsons promised.
Going vertical would make better sense, perhaps something like the space elevator that Arthur Clarke envisioned.

RE: Solar Roadways

Given the cost of a project, wouldn't be easier (and cheaper) to build the roof over every road (that will solve rain / snow problem) and place solar panels on the roof?

Also, why not railroads? Place solar panels between the rails to run trains that already are electric?

And John, to an Engineer, the glass has safety factor of 2. smile

RE: Solar Roadways

$2.2 million raised from suckers and technomorons. Not the first time, nor will it be the last.

RE: Solar Roadways

CheckerHater - Why would you put solar panels between the rails on a railroad track? You can't angle them properly, dirt and crud will accumulate on horizontal panels, you have very limited space between the tracks (requiring either custom panels or wasting much of the space) - and you have to deal with huge vibrations from the trains. Oh, and the added cost and risk whenever you need to do maintenance on the tracks - I've seen those guys shooting grinder sparks landing more than 30 feet away from rehab operations. Those are NOT delicate-operations guys. Heck, you'll have to call out an electrician (twice!) every time for rehab or repair to disconnect and reconnect the panels.

Cheaper, cleaner, safer and better efficiency to mount them on poles (at an angle) in the RR Right-Of-Way, but not in the tracks themselves.

Hm, pretty much the same problems as Solar Freakin Roadways - it's just a really dumb place to put solar panels for a multitude of reasons.

RE: Solar Roadways

@Tom:
I think I should raise sarcasm flag higher.
I was simply trying to say that placing solar panels anywhere you actually don't have to drive on top of them would make more sense.
And BTW space between the rails may be utilized nicely on something like city light rail:
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlovaas/assets_c...

RE: Solar Roadways

Someone made millions of dollars selling pet rocks, why should this be any different.

RE: Solar Roadways

Light rail is as bad. You still have the crappy angle, dirt, maintenance and electrical safety issues - with the added bonus of pedestrians.

RE: Solar Roadways

There are good videos on YouTube that debunk this scam. It would cost more than the US budget. It would consume more energy than it produced. It would fail quickly from abrasive damage. The LED lights would not be visible in sunlight. Check out their "military" applications if you really want a good laugh.

Johnny Pellin

RE: Solar Roadways

Oh, "more than the US budget" is a very low estimate. Order of magnitude low.

Using their own numbers for the most optimistic cost per unit area(something they are apparently incapable of doing) - I came up with a minimum cost of $48 Trillion, just for US Highways - not counting all the sidewalks, parking lots, city streets, state highways, drop-landed spy drones et cetera they keep talking about. It would roughly quadruple the national debt.

RE: Solar Roadways

We should all be begging these guys to teach us there marketing skills. To hell with implementation. Take the cash to an island!

RE: Solar Roadways

sorry, IMHO one of the dumbest ideas yet heard (right up there with seeding the atmosphere with particles).

roads make for very poor solar array farms.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Solar Roadways

"Seeding the atmosphere with particles" that's easy. Maybe we shoulden't have required those bag houses.

We can do this once we have everybody is using mass transit, as the roads will be empty. The only problem will be geting grass to grow in the roadway cracks.

RE: Solar Roadways

China's doing a bang-up job seeding the atmosphere with particles, particularly during the heating season when every house in Northern China is burning coal cakes...

RE: Solar Roadways

I actually thought this whole thing was BS, but I was wrong

http://news.yahoo.com/inventor-pushes-solar-panels...

However no estimate for cost.

Maybe a better start is church parking lots, where the church has the empty parking lot (except for sundays), and the developer repaves (dosen't sound right) it for the value of the energy.

RE: Solar Roadways

if by "BS" you mean "scam" then ok,
but if you mean "daft", then IMHO it still is a dumb idea ...

how long does it take to pave a road ? (ie the implementation time for this is ridiculous)
how long have we been developing road surfaces ? (ie it a pretty mature technology, and works pretty well)

ok, it might work on somewhere like the barrier hwy or similar well lit outback roads, but i'd rather build an array farm beside the road (let the road be a road and the array farm an array farm, and never the twain should meet).

this whole thing started with hot pavements (and some publicized stunts), but is reflecting the sunlight a good thing if we're worried by GHG ?

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Solar Roadways

I would also be concerned about the tractive effect of such a device, which is why I would suggest a non-busy parking lot. What effects would this have on tires is also a concern. And with so many joints, it would likely be very noisy.

By BS I ment it was proposed, but never designed. But he actually built several of them.

With so few cells the voltage would be very small, unless there is an electronics package to invert or change the voltage (another failure mode). Also assuming the life is about the same as for LED's, that would be 11 or 22 years (depending on your assumptions), which seems short for a roadway.

So how do you fix pot holes? Just toss in asphault?

RE: Solar Roadways

I just can't imagine solar roadways standing up to the pounding that a roadway takes from vehicles, no matter what that guy says. Asphalt and concrete don't stand up, I can't imagine anything that can generate power could survive.

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