Wouldn’t it be amazing if all infrastructure, regardless of whether it is a building roof or a busy highway, is fitted with solar panels and generates limitless electricity? This is what a team of US engineers, Scott and Julie Brusaw, dreamed about and after quite a bit of thinking, and of course bureaucratic negotiations, they decided to give the idea a go and search a way to turn roads into energy farms.
They are almost there, all that is needed now is a bit of funding.
The idea is to cover segments of the road network with super-strong textured glass, which can withstand a load of around 250,000 pounds. The glass will be used to protect the solar panels that are placed underneath. There will be a heating element that will keep everything ice-free during winter, and smart LED lights that adjust to current traffic conditions, and replace, or rather improve, typical traffic lights.
The system, also referred to as Solar Roadways, has a huge potential. By generating electricity all the time, the technology could be shaped up into pretty much everything, even a high speed data network. All panels will be connected not only to each other, but also to a main maintenance office, where information about faults will be sent immediately.
Now, the practical issue. In order to finalize the new power-grid plan, the guys are now asking for $1 million, so that they can hire the needed personnel, who would make the idea turn into a real thing. Of course, there will be many stages, when it could fail, but it is a cool concept, and if the Department of Energy has approved it by giving them $100,000 and signing a contract, it might actually turn out to be not so impossible after all.
Image (c) Solar Roadways