Solar power has yet to reach a level of adoption that it will solve our energy needs. But if Solar Roadways has their way we’ll soon all be driving, yes driving, on solar panels.
The benefits to their solar powered roadway go beyond the conventional. In addition to generating electricity, the solar road ways, which are crafted of solar cells and glass, contain LEDs that could provide drivers with information similar today’s overhead highway signs as well as melt snow and ice using built-in heating elements.
Estimates says that if we replaced the entire interstate system with Solar Panels we could resolve the US energy crisis. One mile of solar road is powerful enough to power up to 500 homes, assuming each panel is producing 7.6kw hours of power each day. Sure, each 12×12 foot panel costs $6,900, but that cost could eventually be off set by charging customers for the energy, not to mention the green implications of adding the pollution free energy source.
So is this reality? Sort of. Solar Roadways just received a $100,000 grant from the department of transportation to build a working prototype. The likelihood of converting our interstates is probably a ways off, but if they can prove that the technology is viable and requires less maintenance then today’s roads I don’t see why concept can’t become reality.