“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” These were the words of a great man, Arthur C. Clarke and we have to agree with him on every level. Everybody has probably envisioned the possibility of a taller building than the current tallest skyscraper in the world right now. Even the speediest Bugatti (the Chiron) has a lot of fans who are waiting with bated breath for a faster model. But a road built on top of solar panels, now that one you can agree with us, nobody saw coming. Solar Roadways, a North American based startup, is already setting up pavements and sidewalks that can produce green energy. The energy will be trapped through solar panels, anchored beneath pavement and parking lots.
According to their commentaries, the pavements are just mockup tests for the real project that is underway. The company hopes to build roads and highways that will be able to harness the power of the sun with the parting of a tire. As soon as a vehicle passes and its shadow disappears, the bare solar roads can continue absorbing solar energy before other vehicles pass. The real challenge was to build a solar panel strong enough to hold up the weight of a 22 wheeled truck or a 52 passenger bus. Researchers at Solar Roadways were able to gamble their way out of this one. Instead of building a road made of tough panels, they opted to make a thick, strong, translucent, glass covering, that wouldn’t shatter even with a screech of a tire.
The solar panels were then to be laid beneath the glass covering to do their job. Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of Solar Roadways, were able to convince the US government on the viability of this project. This way, they received a $100,000 grant to provide much-needed research in the first Phase of the project in 2009. In 2011, Scott received yet another $750,000, this time for building a full solar panel parking lot. As we speak, the parking lot is already set up and working. Before getting into the third phase of the project, which is building the actual solar roads, Solar Roadways had to do some intensive tests on their tough hexagonal glass. The glass had to provide enough traction for braking and taking off, just like the usual tarmac roads we know.
Apart from this, the panels had to hold up weights of up to 180,000 pounds. Even so, the startup company had all the nerve it needed to pull this ambitious project through. Their persistence paid off as Brusaw gave a report some time ago that their panels can hold up a maximum load of 110 tons at an instant. Moreover, when explaining on the feasibility of the project, the company pointed out that the solar roads will be heating themselves during winter. This will eliminate the need for heavy excavators to clear up the roads during the chilly season.
The question of heavy costs that governments will incur, if they are willing to install this kind of futuristic roads, is still valid. However, the benefits of the project, far much outweigh the costs and nothing seems to be stopping it from happening. The realization of this green roads project will help governments to save on energy costs, such as street lighting as well as road maintenance costs during winter.
If you are wanting to slash your bills by at least 50 percent, give Solar 360 a call. We’ll answer all of your questions and get you started down the road to solar power freedom.