Just a few miles north of Spokane is Sandpoint, Idaho, where the couple who developed the technology for solar roadways live and work. We follow their progress with great interest, even have doubters in our midst that it will ever work. "It can't be done!" "It won't work!" " It is too expensive!"
It's always too expensive - until people see that it works.
To be honest, I'm more than a little dubious of the whole solar roadway thing. Sure it can take transient loads like trucks, but what happens to them if something drops out of said truck? How about expansion and contraction with changes in temperature, and for that matter, shifts in the roadbed owing to water freezing and expanding? Indeed, what happens when it RAINS?
I would want to see a proof-of-concept demonstration, one that had been put through the mill before I would think that any large-scale commitment would be viable.
They live about an hours drive from me and when the couple started talking about their plan the doubters outnumber the believers by a huge margin. Many retired former Silicon Vally engineers retired here, and they began looking at the idea. Problem-solving, one by one and more people became believers.
Here is a link to their video and site.
Chris, have you seen the cycle path at Krommenie, Netherlands?
Amsterdam — a 70-meter stretch of cycle path between two suburbs of the city that generates solar power from rugged, textured glass-covered photovoltaic cells.
The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.
Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre ( 229 + feet) test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year.
A bike path, sure. A glass-covered road for ordinary traffic, not as easy.
Ya! Kind of a puny beginning! I wonder how many of our asphalt streets and highways are ever going to be repaired, with asphalt or glass.
Asphalt is made from a fossil fuel. Is glass?
I very much like the idea of Solar roadways. Especially since I read that they could supply 3 times the energy needed for the USA.
I've always liked to dream of great new ideas like this. Some of which might take a long time to implement. But, just because they may take a long time is no excuse to not make a start.
Solar everywhere it can pay for itself, which is almost everywhere.
For instance, my pocket solar calculator. The light I use to read it, added to the light required to operate it, are a tiny fraction of the light wasted by lighting other parts of the room I'm in.