In the US there are approximately 2.7 million miles ( 4.3 million Kms ) of paved roads and highways. Globallt it is estimated that there are 11 million miles ( 18 million kms ) of asphault or concrete expanse for vehicles to drive on.
A challenge for solar power as we know it today, namely silicon or organic photovoltaic cells is the area required to install the modules. Once installed this area is usually not usefull for any other purpose.
What if we could combine these two things, paved roads and solar power? What if we could drive on a roadway made of solar power that lights itself at night and could even recharge your electric car while driving?
This is an idea that is catching on, but it represents a tremendous challenge to scientists and engineers to develop a solar material that can take the beating of millions of cars driving on them each year. The variety of weather conditions must also be taken into account.
Many of our roads and highways today are not in very good shape. It may have been years since they have been level and free of anoying potholes. In many countries there is not enough money taken in for taxes to cover all that is needed to do plus look after the roads. This would have to change with a solar roadway or the roadway would need to be designed to last for a very long time.
We Need A Big Win As A Source For Clean Electricity.
Researchers around the world are working to solve this problem and develop a robust solar roadway that can change how we view the roads around us. No longer just something to get us around from place to place but a source of power for our vehicles and economy.
I myself hope they solve this before the invention of the personal flying vehicle which of course needs no roads at all.
About Gordon Smith Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.