solar-roadways-smart-city-100669715-largeIn a section of Route 66 located in Missouri, MoDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, and Solar Roadways plans to install solar panels to serve as public roads by the year’s end.

The specially-designed roadways will feature LED lights to cover the expression of “lines and signage” as well as surface heating abilities.

Not only will the roadways perhaps lower reconstruction costs, being that the panels are modular and easily repaired, but hopefully the solar panels will inspire other states to adopt similar models. The solar panels signal to each other and the vehicles driving upon them via a central control center and microprocessors.

Before completely adopting the idea, even though France is also planning to implement solar panel roadways, there are some potential problems.

Seasonal changes and common weather patterns, for one, can alter the efficiency of the design. Winter is a threat to the solar panels as frozen water can damage connections between them and also break the roadways.

Wear from traffic over time can also cause concern for a reduction in the amount of electricity produced.

If engineers can come up with solutions to these everyday problems, the solar paneled roadways might pave the way for an economic and environmental solution for transportation purposes.

Tom Blair, head of Road to Tomorrow, commented, “If [Solar Roadway’s] version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves.”

Missouri might be experiencing the solar paneled roadways soon after all, as Solar Roadways in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation finished up two contracts.

Melinda Lee from Missouri thinks the project could make driving safer. She commented, “This program is something that helps save a few lives, that’s the perfect place for us to place the money.”

Update: EEVBlog may have a point on this story, here:

 

 

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