We live in a world where a new technology is popping up almost every other minute. From the latest I-phone version to medical advancements such as in utero heart operations, the world as we know it is changing. One of the coolest ideas I recently heard is solar roadways. Yes, solar panels line the roadway, harnessing the energy from the sun, melting snow, powering lights and maybe even electric cars.
In the United States alone, we have approximately 4 million miles of roadway. Even if just a small portion of these roadways are covered, think of all the energy we could generate – using it to power homes, business, vehicles, etc. - the possibilities are endless. These systems could minimize and/or eliminate the need for paint, sealants, and other chemicals on our roadways as well as the use of salt and calcium chloride which eventually end up in our waterways.
There are of course some limitations holding this technology back. Cost is a big factor – as the solar panels are currently made by hand. Also, safety could be an issue as the solar panels are covered by glass. Despite these and other setbacks, testing is underway on these systems and maybe we will see solar technological advancements coming soon to our everyday lives as we drive to work, the store, or even to visit family or a friend.
For more information on solar roadway applications, check out this link to an article about applications happening here and around the world.
Blog author: Carla Regener, Stormwater Specialist