This Is What a Solar Roadway Looks Like

Solar Roadway

Would you feel safe driving on electric glass? A startup called Solar Roadways is betting on it. Armed with $100,000 from the U.S Department of Transportation, the company set off on a quest to produce the Solar Road Panel, an energy-generating device made from solar cells and glass that is intended to replace asphalt on roads. And now, just over 6 months after getting the DOT cash, Solar Roadways has a fancy prototype to show off.

Each Solar Road Panel features a weatherproof, translucent road surface layer, an electronics layer containing LEDs and solar cells, and a base plate layer that distributes power to homes and businesses connected to the roadway. In addition to generating power, the road panels have one big advantage over traditional asphalt: they are self-heating, which means snow and ice don't accumulate on top of the road.

Solar Roadway

The company has some big plans:

The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road Panels™ that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half.

Overly ambitious? Probably. Convincing the government to rip up every single asphalt road in the country is most likely impossible--not to mention wasteful. But at the very least, Solar Road Panels could be useful in areas prone to snow and ice build-up. And if the U.S. government won't bite, maybe Solar Roadways could look elsewhere.

[Via Gas 2.0]

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13 Comments

  • Drake Dranchlan

    You should take into consideration the amount of radiation that would come from those lights, we already have a problem with all the electronics, and as Whys Alives said : " there is no way this can hold up to the strain of traffic", the weight of the vehicles would crush those.

  • Whys Alives

    I don't keep us in the dark ages. The next time you want to bring a clean energy initiative to the ballot box, I'll vote for it. But if you'll see from my previous post, this particular technology is an excuse for a government grant. There is no way this can hold up to the strain of traffic, let alone be implemented in a cost effective fashion. The only one in the dark, is you.

  • Me

     how the fuck would you know?  Fucking know it all asshole, yet actually doesn't say WHY it won't hold up to the strain of traffic.  I'm sure they never thought cars would actually be driving over them?  Fuck you and your attitude.

  • Jason Presley

    From reading their website a bit, I like the idea of using this technology in parking lots. It would be a great place to start. Pick one of those new big box shopping centers that seem to be popping up at every Interstate exit and pave the BestBuy and Kohl's lot with these and see if there is enough benefit to actually tackle a road project.

  • Anonymous

    It's people like "Whys Alives" that keep us in the dark ages. I guess you don't realize how many BILLIONS of dollars are wasted every month on things to do nothing positive.

  • Whys Alives

    It is unfortunate that the DOT has wasted $100,000 of taxpayer money on this fantasy project when there are real bridges in dire need of repair.

  • Whys Alives

    In my city there are asphalt roads with deep grooves (2"+) where the weight of semi trucks has warped the surface. In some locations the asphalt has been replaced with stronger concrete. Grooves continue appear none the less. How would a glass panel fair I wonder. :P

  • WhyAlives = Know it all loser

     since you've never tested it, tried it, measured it, or anything else useful that would actually prove your point, you are just a negative mouth piece that likes to hear herself yip yip yip.  You know nothing of this, the materials, the testing, NOTHING.  Yet here you are, Mr. This Won't Work because I've been big grooves on roads.....  WHAT A FUCKING LOSER.

  • Joseph Allan

    It's people like "Whys Alives" that keep us in the dark ages. I guess you don't realize how many BILLIONS of dollars are wasted every month on things to do nothing positive.

  • Nick Yecke

    Sounds like something that's a bit far out in terms of execution but definitely the type of innovation the solar industry needs to see. Well done Solar Roadways. To see what people are looking at and buying today to go solar check out PVPower, solar panels are getting less expensive by the day and today's federal and (some) state incentives are incredible.

  • Kris Denio

    Yeah, as a motorcyclist, I'm not real thrilled with the idea of reduced road friction. I hope they are much rougher than they look.

  • Yael Miller

    Looks great, but very shiny for a rain-wet road. I can't imagine people not slipping and sliding if they had to stop short on one of these.