A new idea has been in the process, and it may be coming to the near future. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the United States is covered by approximately 4.12 million miles of roads (The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), 2016). But what else are these roads good for besides being used for traveling, they don’t harvest energy and the are usually faulted by potholes. however that may not be the case as they may be replaced with solar energy harvesting panels. For years, energy used to be reliant on fossil fuels, which can include petroleum, gas, and coal, as well as using nuclear energy. These different types of fuels were once the only fuels that could be used to create electrical energy. However, with these new panels, renewable energy may become more prominent in the future.
But how do these panels work though and how will they change the way that we travel? the company that created the concept for solar roadways, Solar Roadways, founded in 2006, introduced this idea on IndieGoGo in 2014, which immediately took off. These solar roadways are constructed from customizable panels that are integrated with a solar panels and energy cells to collect and store solar energy when needed. When the panels are used, the collect solar energy, and can pass the energy that the collect from one panel to another , ultimately being able to be collected and turned into clean electrical energy. Like a giant circuit electrical energy collected can provide energy to nearby homes and connected navigation signs and lamp posts. These panels also have other capabilities than just being able to to collect and store solar energy. These panels are also equipped with multi colored leds which can be used to designate lanes, create cross that can display when and when to cross, and parking spaces to make a easy and customizable parking lot. Not only that, but these panels are self heating, meaning that there is now a lower chance of car accidents happening from icy roads. To increase traction and further reduce the chance of an accident, these panels are textured to improve tire traction.
With all of these bonuses of using these specialized solar panels, one would ask why are we not using these right now. Well, currently these panels are still in the testing phases as of right now, but Solar Roadways has won quite a few contracts including one from 2015 that was worth $750,000 to be used to perform better research to make these panels stronger and more durable.
R & D – SolarRoadways. Retrieved September 16, 2016, from http://www.solarroadways.com/Research/Research
Solar Roadways IndieGoGo page here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#/