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Solar Powered Roadway Lights

The U.S. Department of Transportation granted $100,000 to the Idaho-based startup Solar Roadways to build a prototype roadway composed of solar cells and glass. The accumulated energy could, hypothetically, be used to light the roadway and provide electricity to consumers:

The 12- x 12-foot panels, which each cost $6,900, are designed to be embedded into roads. When shined upon, each panel generates an estimated 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day. If this electricity could be pumped into the grid, the company predicts that a four-lane, one-mile stretch of road with panels could generate enough power for 500 homes. Although it would be expensive, covering the entire US interstate highway system with the panels could theoretically fulfill the country's total energy needs. The company estimates that this would take 5 billion panels, but could "produce three times more power than we've ever used as a nation - almost enough to power the entire world."

The Solar Road Panels also contain embedded LED lights that "paint" the road lines from beneath to provide safer nighttime driving. The LEDs could also be programmed to alert drivers of detours or road construction ahead, and can even sense wildlife on the road and warn drivers to slow down. The roads could also contain embedded heating elements in the surface to prevent snow and ice from building up on the road. Further, in the future, fully electric vehicles could recharge along the roadway and in parking lots, making electric cars practical for long trips.


Link via DVICE

Image: Solar Roadways

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It's a good start, maybe this ain't practical now but their data when they have the prototype could be very interesting and something useful in the next step. A++ with the idea though there's no doubt that building solar panels will be the mainstream in short time as grid cost gets higher and higher. As technology advances, production solar power materials are more competitive than ever.
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Whats wrong with solar power? The sun is the ultimate power source and we should be using it for everything. I agree this project has some kinks that need to be worked out but I think its a fantastic step towards a new electric society. Ya'll need to stop whining about this and see the wondrous potential. And correct me if I'm wrong but didnt our government just spend billions of OUR MONEY to pay bankers bonuses?
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Theft. Even if they could make such technology available, people would strip it out and use it for personal gain. It's a no-brainer. One would have to police it constantly to insure someone didn't just take it. As such, we're better off having guarded facilities which run solar power from mostly uninhabitable heat regions to generator stations and ques which power our habitable zones. We can maximize our solar intake while maintaining a menial impact upon our living standards. I am, however, skeptical of relying upon solar to meet the power needs of America. We could use it to generate small power to feed things like green houses for hydroponic vegetable/fruit production. It's cheaper than you think. But not to power big corporations like a walmart (air conditioning alone must cost immense amounts), and call centers for cellular companies. It's impossible.
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Why not start off with solar powered street lighting.

Also the road panel idea couldn't be carried out by a government, unless they wanted to nationalise electricity production.
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