Vision Of The Future: Paving The Roads With Solar Panels

May 28, 2014


Because I'm slow like a tortoise sloth, this is an Indiegogo campaign for the production of Solar Roadways, hexagonal solar cells that can be used to replace existing roads, sidewalks, driveways, etc. The solar cells will not only provide clean power to the grid, but also use a small amount of that energy to light embedded LEDs to create the lines on the road, display road warnings, designate parking spots, etc. Plus -- PLUS -- the solar cells will also have a heating element that can melt snow on the surface, preventing the need for snowplows or me throwing my back out trying to shovel my parent's driveway. The whole thing seems like a great idea (and it IS a great idea), I just imagine the cost of implementation is going to be astronomical. Sure that cost would eventually pay for itself in the long-run, but sometimes it's hard to get people to care about the long run -- particularly politicians. In the video they estimate that if all the roads in America were paved in solar cells they would generate 3x the amount of energy the whole country currently uses. That is a lot of clean energy. In this can? A lot of RED BULL energy. *drinking* Oh, nope, that was a cigarette butt. Ugh, you leave your drink alone for one minute. If I could nuke this planet I would, I'm serious.

Keep going for an informative video about the possibilities. It's a little intense.

Thanks to TimeShift, jack, Amy, O_O, Phishoutofwater, K17 and anybody else who didn't include solar in the subject of their tip. That was your bad.

  • varun reddy

    how would the LED signs visible during sunlight,if an acident happens in the middle of freeway is it possible to repair,the loss in current is about 40% per 1 hex,
    good idea of solar roads but impractical project

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  • Joyanna Spangenburg

    man if they dont do this everywhere i want it at my house at least

  • Closet Nerd

    I would gay rave all over that shit

    just sayin

  • Idea is cool but simply for advance world and that to needs regular monitoring of its functioning and safety both. It should be applied when no idea is left with easy implementation.

  • Joe Ferschke

    I have a feeling that if this were to catch on, a whole lot of local governments corruptions will be brought to light. Have you ever seen the New York State DOT on a job? 7 guys standing around, 1 guy working. They're all making $20 bucks an hour.

  • boBisa

    and that right there, sir, is precisely why ideas like this do NOT catch on. because there are a lot of lobbyists, politicians, and paid interests at play on a state and local level to even get this started, much less on a federal level to make this a national switch. the interests of oil & petroleum groups who would stand to lose out on billions of dollars in consumer revenue, the interests of dept of energy guys who are connected to the oil & petrol guys who keep their political careers afloat, including but not limited to our dear Commander in Chief--c'mon that Keystone XL pipedream didn't come out of nowhere. this idea is brilliant, could solve a lot of problems and dial back our effects global warming significantly, which is exactly why it will not happen.

  • economically impossible-plus megahot-but...dream on!

  • Patrick Banks

    ..These pay BACK for themselves... still costs Tons of money to have them installed. Can you imagine a city shutting down its roads or highways to install these? I'm sure it would take months at the fastest possible..
    Cost per square mile of these roads vs cost per square mile of concrete roads, where is this?

  • KLanD

    They wouldn't last a year. They'll either be stolen or destroyed in winter.

  • dougfunnay

    one huge problem with this idea that no one seems to be considering is the money involved...... utility companies would spend retarded amounts of money in lobbying to prevent something like this so its doubtful congress would ever approve a budget for it

    other than that though it could be an ok idea for regions that receive a large amount of sun

  • HackTheGibson

    Unless the utility company themselves are the ones installing it. They are a huge fan of solar and hydro... as long as they are the ones making the power.

  • dougfunnay

    right..... as long as they are the ones making the power

    so what do you think they would do if the public tried to take the market?

  • wharrgarbl

    Is using recycled glass a good idea when you really need good light transmission?
    What about roads where you can't put a raceway?
    Installing a raceway is going to cost a lot isn't it?
    Real scientific testing with rubbing a tire on the panels.
    Those kapton heaters they have in there require a ton of power that that panel will never be able to generate.
    I have some large silicone heating blankets that are about four times that size and it requires 15 amps and 3000 watts. So a rough guess is about 4 amps 750 watts for something that size.
    Glass is a insulator so it's going to have horrible efficiency.
    You can't put that heater over the solar panel so it has to go under it? Even more of a waste.
    Why is it so hard to list what kind of power the panels actually make?
    They list a standard solar efficiency in the FAQ, why doesn't this take into account the amount of light lost from the glass.

  • Joe Ferschke

    How many houses does the river of potholes in front of my house power? How many thousands of dollars are taken from my paycheck every year to keep those potholes nice and deep?

  • raditzzzz

    i think efficiency is something you strive for in the design phase to maximize your return, but i find it is distracting against the fact that the current road system contributes 0% to the energy grid, and still suffers from all of the issues you raise; they break down and need to be repaired all the time. Even if the efficiency is relatively low, that is still going to contribute more than the jack squat being produced by asphalt right now.

    yada yada about the durability, just test it, scale it, scale it again and get it done. the current road system wasn't built in a day, chip away until it gets done. I would love to read the article about the little town that steps up and converts their roadways, only to massively subsidize their power consumption.

  • Joe Ferschke


  • Mike Harper

    What happens when it snows? What about all the salt that gets put on roads in the northern states? What about maintenance costs and the costs for all the transformers and wires and batteries?

  • Joe Ferschke

    Watch the video.

  • Mike Harper

    I did and the facts still remain that solar has yet pay for itself let alone turn a profit. So where would the money come from to build all of these? States governments? The Federal government? A lot of the state's are broke and the Fed's currently have over $17 Trillion in debt. Now for parking lots and driveways are the owners of the property going to be mandated to pay for it? An other thing is the texturing of the panels. From the looks of it there would be an alarming rate of road noise and vibration coming from that. The LED's are a cool idea but what happens if a bunch go down at night leaving patches of road with no lines? Painted on lines don't malfunction but technology always does. Heated panels for winter? That's awesome until it's -30F and all the water that is on the roads from the melted snow ices over on the sides of the panels leaving a corridor of thick ice on every path. When have you ever seen a municipality quickly fix a road issue especially when they have a tight budget? If these were to be funded by tax dollars then it wouldn't create more money because it would be simply shifting money around instead of creating wealth and creating money.

    It sounds like an awesome idea but thats about it. When you factor in reality it becomes a bad idea.

  • roehlstation

    Maintenance is easier when everything is placed in far more accessible underground raceways, New fiber, and other utilities can be all run at the same time getting rid of the overhead cabling because the entire system is modular thus easy to open up and access when you need to.

  • Mike Harper

    Yet you forget about cost. Considering that solar has yet to turn a profit and lives off government subsidies I see this as an awesome idea void of reality.

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