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June 02, 2014

"Endless Electricity: Here's A Way Of Turning America's Roads Into Gigantic Solar Panels"

This sounds very cool. This short video about it is even more hype-a-licious.

I'm wary of the hype since they're trying to raise money from the public. And Wikipedia lists a few of the possible cautions:

Installation costs of building such roadways and parking lots are expected to cost at least 50 percent more than regular roads, and possibly more.[3] Maintenance costs will also be higher because road surfaces accumulate rubber, salt, soil and other substances that block sunlight and must be removed. The durability of the panels may also be less, further increasing maintenance costs. In addition, the solar roadways system is designed to replace many other road features that also cost drivers for road systems.

On the other hand, how will the technology develop once a lot of other very smart, ambitious people and some big companies get involved?

Kind of related: "Why Owning Your Own Power Plant Might Not Be Crazy".


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David Foster

From the Personal Power Plant link: "Sandy, Irene, and Katrina suggest otherwise. If you don’t think many people value reliability, just look at the recent financials for Generac, the leading American manufacturer of residential back up generators."

"Solar Power" and "Backup in Major Storms" don't go very well together. What are the odds that in a Katrina or similar situation the skies will be sufficiently clear of cloudiness, heavy rain, snow, etc to keep the batteries charged?

I think there is much to be said for distributed power generation, possibly even at the home level, but much more likely powered by natural gas and making use of waste heat for home heating & water heating...possibly supplemented by solar in areas that have a lot of sunlight.


I love technology and hope for the future, but I can't see it. The costs would be far higher that estimated. Only 50% more - I find that hard to believe. Salt and dirt? Try litter, gum, and bird poop. Circuit breaks - who will repair and how?

And it would change the tire industry as the surface will be different than today - and I'm betting it will be worse for braking. This will cause problems when going between surfaces and the insurance industry will have a hard time with claims.

Simpler solar farms away from all this would seem to be more effective.

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