The Universe and Me

Monday, March 07, 2016

The long and winding solar road

During our often snowy Western New York winters, I find myself wondering why we don't have solar roads and sidewalks. And for that matter, driveways. It seems like in the long run, not having to pay for workers to plow and plows and upkeep on plows in addition to salt and sand, solar roads would be less costly and safer. In the Netherlands, they are already working on Solar Roads, or SolaRoads. A couple years ago they built a 70 meter (230 foot) test track along a bike path on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The panels underneath the road generated over 3 thousand kilowatt hours in six months. Enough to provide a household with electricity for a year. Cheap mass produced solar panels are layered between glass, silicon rubber and concrete. If one panel breaks, only that panel is switched off. Developers are working on solar panels that can take the weight of buses and large trucks. Eventually electric cars might be able to make use of the energy created.


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