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Solar Roadways Named a Finalist for 2009 EE Times ACE Awards

28 February 2009

Solar Roadways, the developer of structurally engineered solar panels that are driven upon., has been nanmed one of five finalists for the Best Enabler Award for Green Engineering category in the 2009 EE Times Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards.

Solarroad

Solar Roadway”s concept is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road Panels that collect and store solar energy to be used by homes and businesses.

Each individual panel consists of three basic layers:

  • Road Surface Layer. Translucent and high-strength, it is rough enough to provide good traction, yet still passes sunlight through to the solar collector cells. It is capable of handling today’s heaviest loads under the worst of conditions. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer beneath it.

  • Electronics Layer. Contains a large array of cells, the bulk of which will contain solar collecting cells with LEDs for painting the road surface. These cells also contain ultracapacitors that store energy for later use. Each Solar Road Panel manages its own electricity generation, storage, and distribution, and they can heat themselves in northern climates to eliminate snow and ice accumulation. (No more snow/ice removal and no more school/business closings due to inclement weather.) On-board microprocessors control lighting, communications, monitoring, etc. With a communications device every 12 feet, the Solar Roadway is an intelligent highway system.

  • Base Plate Layer. While the electronics layer collects and stores the energy from the sun, it is the base plate layer that distributes power (collected from the electronics layer) and data signals (phone, TV, internet, etc.) downline to homes and businesses connected to the Solar Roadway. The power and data signals are passed through each of the four sides of the base plate layer. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer above it.

Based on 15% efficiency, each Solar Road Panel can produce an average of 7.6 kWh per day. A hypothetical 4-lane, one-mile stretch of road would require 1,760 Solar Road Panels, capable of producing 13,376 kWh of electricity per day, or some 4,882,240 kWh per year—enough to take 500 homes completely off-grid.

4.84 billion (12’ by 12’) Solar Road Panels would be required to replace the current asphalt road system, parking lots, and driveways in the 48 contiguous states.

Solar Roadways is planning a 21-year life for each panel.

February 28, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (1)

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Comments

This a brilliant idea though not easy to bring to reality, the materail as to be self cleaning otherwise it wouldn't transmit light for long. I don't know if the technology will ever exist to bring this to the real world but the idea of using a sheet of high resistance material to make a road will make it through I can envision it.

A Dutch outfit came up with using parking lots and roads for solar thermal building heating. They run tubes through them. That had its problems too, but it seems lower tech and easier to achieve at a reasonable cost.

It's actually more cost effective to replace the whole road with the Solar Roadway panel. The Dutch idea, panels on the side of the road etc. still leave us with having to use asphalt to replace our current roads. The cost of asphalt is no longer affordable and states do not have the money to maintain our current highway system. With Solar Roadways, we modernize our current system in countless ways, with a project that ends up paying for itself by powering the country.

I used to have ideas much like this.
But I don't drink like I used to.

I think it is premature for authors to dismiss this idea until it has a chance to be tested. Let the results decide how effective this solution is. This is a great idea. If it can be made to work, even in only some road conditions or geographical areas it is a success. We need to get projects like this fast tracked so that we can determine if this idea should be implemented quickly on a large scale. It sounds like the project could pay for itself over time.

I'm not dismissive of this idea. However, add to the cost of solar cells, the cost of ripping up roads that have not been fully amortized. I am curious how it would deal with potholes and cracks?

Did I just wake up in some Bazaro-like parallel universe?
This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard.

I think the dumbest thing I've ever heard is that business as usual will have a positive outcome.

Probably not realistic but great idea.

Could the anti-icing properties of such a road really keep up with a northeast winter and the sudden onset of bad weather? I for one remain skeptical. With a load of 500 homes per mile in sub zero wx, well, we're connected to the grid anyway... we could always put some nukes on line to cope with the truly nasty storms...

Be positive.
We must play with the hand we are dealt.
We can now say "Why that's as ridiculous as paving our highways with smart solar cells".
And if this turns out to be nothing but a hoax, and shows up on snopes, we won't feel so gullible.
The burning question is:
- Is this crazier than thinking you can power your car with water or not?

This is some good outside the box thinking but I'm also a bit skeptical as to how they would hold up, stay clean etc. I think it would be a lot cheaper to build a solar "roof" over the road, it could use Coverall building type structure, open sides, thin film solar panels on top. This way the solar cells stay cleaner, no real wear, keeps snow and rain off the road, provides shade so there's less air conditioner use for the cars on the road, street lighting would also be much more efficient with less light being reflected off into space. Less glare for safer driving, no extra land use and they still generate power even if there is bumper to bumper traffic. Now this would not work everywhere but considering the shape of the roads I have to drive on and what they are subjected too I don't think a solar panel would be a cost effective thing to drive on.

I would say there is lots of good input here. As someone who actually follows this project I can safely say I have heard the creators address each and every concern listed here. This is an "idea" that means it is still under construction. But the creators are realistic, they don't see this as a 100% perfect in the first try invention. To anyone who has ever invented anything... you know that does not exist. There will be "speed bumps" along the way. I would leave my few doubts about the project here but the creators already know my thoughts. I do have a piece of criticism for the consumers now. Instead of reverting back to elementary school mentality and say something is "stupid" or "unrealistic". State a thought with substance. Why is it unrealistic? What do you doubt? Or if this idea is "stupid" I would love to hear your better idea. All I know is we need a solution to the energy crisis and global warming. This is the best idea I have heard yet and I stand behind it 100%.

This would be an amazing feat of design and engineering, but I won't say it is impossible. Although, if we really embraced solar technology and energy conservation, such an idea may become unnecessary. I personally would rather have solar panels wired directly into my house from the roof, allowing autonomy over my own energy. As for those who would call this stupid or unbelievable, I would be careful about doubting the abilities of modern minds and technology. I am only 30 years old yet I can clearly remember using a rotary phone on a daily basis...it was a big deal not 15 years ago to have a touch-tone phone...now look at us. The possibilities are infinite...even for solar roadways.

This would be an amazing feat of design and engineering, but I won't say it is impossible. Although, if we really embraced solar technology and energy conservation, such an idea may become unnecessary. I personally would rather have solar panels wired directly into my house from the roof, allowing autonomy over my own energy. As for those who would call this stupid or unbelievable, I would be careful about doubting the abilities of modern minds and technology. I am only 30 years old yet I can clearly remember using a rotary phone on a daily basis...it was a big deal not 15 years ago to have a touch-tone phone...now look at us. The possibilities are infinite...even for solar roadways.

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