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Solar Roadways Awarded DOT Contract to Pave Roads with Solar Cells

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from: http://www.physorg.com/news171545860.html

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a first step toward turning highways into energy-generating solar panels, the Sagle, Idaho-based startup Solar Roadways has recently received a $100,000 grant from the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The company will use the money to build a prototype of its Solar Road Panel, made from solar cells and glass, that is meant to replace petroleum-based asphalt on roads and in parking lots.

The 12- x 12-foot panels, which each cost $6,900, are designed to be embedded into roads. When shined upon, each panel generates an estimated 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day. If this electricity could be pumped into the grid, the company predicts that a four-lane, one-mile stretch of road with panels could generate enough power for 500 homes. Although it would be expensive, covering the entire US interstate highway system with the panels could theoretically fulfill the country's total energy needs. The company estimates that this would take 5 billion panels, but could "produce three times more power than we've ever used as a nation - almost enough to power the entire world."

The Solar Road Panels also contain embedded LED lights that "paint" the road lines from beneath to provide safer nighttime driving. The LEDs could also be programmed to alert drivers of detours or road construction ahead, and can even sense wildlife on the road and warn drivers to slow down. The roads could also contain embedded heating elements in the surface to prevent snow and ice from building up on the road. Further, in the future, fully electric vehicles could recharge along the roadway and in parking lots, making electric cars practical for long trips.

"This feature packed system will become an intelligent highway that will double as a secure, intelligent, decentralized, self-healing power grid which will enable a gradual weaning from fossil fuels," Solar Roadways stated in a recent press release.

More information: www.solarroadways.com

I wonder just how viable this idea is. I mean, I don't it would ever replace all our current energy producers, but I do think it would be a step in a good direction. Though, it would have to withstand the punishment that current road paving does, or it wouldn't be worth it. I do like the idea of electric cars able to recharge themselves as they drive. That alone would make it worthwhile, even if that's all they could do.

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yes! I agree with ya on cars charging as they drive. That would be the ideal situation. Maybe they should start with trains and see how it goes.

Up here in CNY where snow plows do 50mph and throw salt behind them...... we don't just get an inch here or there, we get feet at a time. Can it really melt all that off or will the road still need to be plowed? My guess is it will still need plowing. -_-; I'm a lil nervous about weight on the glass as well. It will have to stand up to tons, trucks tractors construction vehicles etc.

but hey, if they can produce the ultra glass.... at this point we are so screwed that just about anything is worth a try.


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