What if we built our roads out of solar panels? The US is criss-crossed with multi-lane interstate highways that are never shaded. If we could collect the power of the sunlight that strikes them, we’d be able to run our homes with it, and possibly even power our cars! A company called Solar Roadways has partnered with the Missouri Department of Transportation to pave a stretch of Route 66 with such panels.
In brief, Solar Roadways is a business that manufactures solar panels of incredible strength. (2) This is possible because their solar panels are made using a special kind of tempered glass that is not just capable of withstanding the weight of semi-trucks rolling over them but also capable of providing the same level of traction as more common materials such as asphalt, which is an interesting contrast to the mental image of smoothness that comes up whenever glass is mentioned as a material. As a result, Solar Roadways can use its solar panels to create paved surfaces, with common examples ranging from roads to parking lots.
The benefits range far beyond just power production. You can read about the project and what it might mean for us at Money, Inc.
Then again, considering that some places are replacing their paved roads with gravel, you have to wonder whether such an enormous and expensive project will ever come about.