Solar Roadways?

Well, maybe. Check out:

It’s an interesting idea, and certainly has at least some applications. But there are some questions:

  • How will it survive heavy truck traffic? Big trucks pay a lot in road taxes because they cause that vast majority of wear and tear on highways. They break concrete; won’t they also break glass, even strong glass?
  • What about cost? Current solar cell prices are around a dollar per rated watt of nominal capacity. This works out to around $15-$20 per square foot, or for two lanes of Interstate, over $2.2 million per mile, just for the panel.
  • A solar cell parking lot is a clever idea, except that when cars are parked there, they shade the cells. Using them for, say, an apartment parking lot, which is likely to be empty during the day, is a good idea. Using them for a shopping center, not so much.

Plans2Reality made a donation. Heck, we’re dreamers; we worked hard to explain the advantage of Solyndra’s tubular design to the marketplace, with some success.

And they’re may be niche markets for it. What about airports? Lots of concrete, no shade. Even if it’s not strong enough for runways, it would be great for taxiways, gates, etc. And the built-in lighting ought to be very useful. So, good luck to them!

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