Solar Roadways

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Sapper Woody, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Sapper Woody

    Sapper Woody
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    Worth a watch for a quick explanation: http://youtu.be/Ep4L18zOEYI

    Evidently, the protoype for solar roadways has been around since 2006. An engineering couple designed solar roadway panels to replace all hard road surfaces, as well as sidewalks, parking lots, and outdoor playing surfaces (basketball courts, tennis courts, etc).

    These solar roadways are self heating, making snowplows, shoveling sidewalks, and salt obsolete in the winter. They are also programmed with LED lights, so that traffic can be diverted for construction easily, as well as warn drivers when there's an obstruction ahead.

    It's estimated that if all the road surfaces in America were converted to these solar roadways, we'd produce 3x the amount of electricity than we are currently using.

    Admittedly, I do not know the start up costs for this. It might be astronomical. But I say it's worth looking into. What say you?
     
  2. Rolfe

    Rolfe
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    If true as explained, a good idea. That said, it'll never happen.
     
  3. InTheLight

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    It's worth investigating for sure. Might as well have parallel research on solar energy storage units (batteries) because, you know, people have to drive at night. All that cool under-road lighting and snow melting is not going to work at night unless the road can store solar energy or unless it is hooked into conventional electrical source.
     
  4. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    I noticed no one asked the key question: "How much does it cost?"

    I hear from some of the promotional videos online, "It pays for itself!" Really? How? Solar panels have long been notoriously inefficient and generally take years to pay for the manufacture, installation and maintenance costs. In short, they are just now reaching efficiency levels that are sufficient to be practical. But the panels proposed to replace concrete and asphalt aren't regular solar panels. They are more expensive, about $70 a square foot, compared to $3 a foot for repaving asphalt, $15 for from-scratch roadways.

    So, how much does a "solar roadway" cost? Well, I Googled that question and in less than 30 second found the rather efficient rebuttal to this nonsense concept at ExtremeTech: Solar Roadway. Here are the facts, in a nutshell.
    • To replace every asphalt or concrete roadway in the lower 48 -- about 29,000 square miles -- try $56 TRILLION! For those of us slow in math, that's just over three times the national debt as of today. Got that lying around in pocket change, right?
    • How about safety? The inventors claim the glass tiles can withstand up to 250,000 pounds. Fine, that's more than enough to carry traffic. But what about piercing impacts? Do the tiles break? If so, will they puncture tires? Will highways be shut down for hours while tiles are replaced?
    • Self-cleaning, hm? Great. But by virtue of being oleo- or hydrophobic, they are incredibly slippery. Sounds like a great way to add some drama to morning rush hour.
    It's an incredibly idiotic idea. Why not just put them on the side of the road? Better yet, how about the roof of your house? Or out in the desert? All those ideas are much cheaper than building solar roadways, and since those arrangements don't have to sustain highway traffic, they're a lot more cost effective.

    Reason through this, please: The Brusaws' solar panels cost $70 a square foot. They are covered by reinforced glass, but there are no indications as to whether or not the glass shatters upon piercing impact. Do I have to explain what shattered glass would do to a busy roadway? They are self-cleaning, meaning they are oleo- or hydrophobic -- translation, slippery as an eel. Great way to enhance the adventure of rush hour.

    The cost of a standard solar panel -- for roof array or for installation in a solar farm out in the desert -- is $7 a square foot. No matter how cheaply production can be made for both, the Bursaws' panels will always be far more expensive than a standard solar panel, which we already have, besides knowing already that it works, even though solar power is at best a break-even undertaking today, and may not be cost effective for years.

    Now, you've got 29,000 square miles of solar roadway at a cost of $56 trillion, roughly $70 a square foot, vs. however many square miles of solar panels intended to be mounted on the roof or out in the desert at about $7 a foot (for the time being). Regardless of how much costs come down, the glass tile solar panels are always going to be way more expensive. Which is more economical, cost effective, and practical?

    So far the only "roadway" they've built is a 12X12 "parking lot" -- for what, sandbox toys? Sounds like Scott and Julie have found a great way not to work for a living and get a million dollar grant to fund their idleness.

    Replacing one square foot of roadway with the Brusaws' panels is an idiotic, money-wasting, ridiculous idea, given we can produce solar power far more cheaply with the technology we already have. They've eaten up a lot of grant money, proven nothing worthwhile, and built a 12X12 side show. They've found a way to make a great living doing nothing.
     
  5. webdog

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    I would love to do my driveway and patio in this!
     
  6. Rolfe

    Rolfe
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    Solar powered chile pepper lights!
     
  7. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    Chile has a pepper named after it? Or are you referring to the only university-sponsored (University of New Mexico) institute for chili pepper research? Or perhaps the restaurant chain in Yuma owned by the Guttierrez family?

    I know, I know ...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rolfe

    Rolfe
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    I am not sure if you are criticizing my spelling, but chile is a legitimate form.
     
  9. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    I know. Just having fun. If you use "chili" it could also mean a nationwide restaurant chain. Meh.
     

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