I’ve just recently heard of “solar roadways”. My first reaction was quite skeptical. “Another unworkable concept,” I thought. Perhaps not so nonsensical after all. Solar roadways coming soon to a place near you? Count on it.

Solar roadways coming soon
Graphic artist: Sam Cornett

Solar Roadways Coming Soon

Wikipedia describes solar roadways this way:

A solar roadway is a road surface that generates electricity by collecting solar power with photovoltaics (solar panels). The idea is to replace current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with solar road panels that collect energy to be used by homes and businesses, and ultimately to be able to store excess energy in or alongside the solar roadways. Thus renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity, which cuts greenhouse gases and helps in sustainable development. 

Parking lots, driveways, and eventually highways are all targets for the panels. Theoretically, if the entire United States Interstate Highway system were surfaced with Solar Roadways panels, it could produce more than three times the amount of electricity currently used nationwide. But the cost to cover all United States roads would be $56 trillion — nearly 20 times the annual federal budget.

This video is somewhat goofy and fun to watch but it does illustrate the multiple applications and benefits of solar roadways.

Solar Freakin Roadways

Published on May 18, 2014
Standard YouTube License

An ongoing Indiegogo funding campaign describes the concept as “solar panels that you can drive, park, and walk on. They melt snow and cut greenhouse gases by 75 percent.”

Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds… literally any surface under the sun. They pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole.

They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a “home” for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking lots and driveways and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving

It could be the roadway of the future!
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Rolly Montpellier, founder of BoomerWarriorRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s also a  Climate Reality leader (Climate Reality Leadership Corps), a blogger, an activist and a Climate Change presenter.
He has been a contributor to the Climate Change Guide, The Canadian, ClimateMama, World Daily, Georgian Bay News, The Elephant, CounterCurrents and 350Ottawa.

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