• #23
    Good find @Firestorm. I have enjoyed our conversations about this.

    Shaking my finger at you, Lisa.

    Give credit where credit is due.
  • #181
    @AntiPorcheria As we used to say a long time ago when the Internet was in it's infancy, "ATTRIBUTION, DAMMIT!" ... search the newsgroup archives... you'll see what I mean...
  • #7
    Nice video, but not much of an elevator speech. And I didn't notice answers to:

    How much does it cost to make?
    How much does it cost to install?
    How much does it cost to maintain?

    There's an analysis of this at Vox [I'm reading Vox?! What's happening to me?] that sounds logical: ...

    It says, "Back in 2010, the company assumed that a 12' by 12' glass panel would cost around $10,000. At this rate, covering all of our roads would cost $56 trillion — nearly 20 times the annual federal budget. Even on a smaller scale, these panels are at least 50 percent more expensive than regular roads, and possibly more."

    A word of advice: when a government guy says the cost will be "at least" ... RUN!
  • #24
    In realistic terms, I couldn't see paving entire roadways...

    But I could see them installed rurally for lighting, warning signs, etc.
  • #26
    Anybody know how long solar panels store power? I assume it's long enough for light from the day to light the road at night, but how about storing power from the summer to melt snow in the winter? Needless to say, not much solar radiation is going to get through a foot of snow.
  • #48
    All we need is a chunk of the money from the Koch Brothers, and their like, that they use to destroy good ideas to get the ball rolling!!
  • #50
    @steveo yep, I'm sure they have the $56 trillion laying around to get the ball rolling. The ball rolling thing reminds me, I've heard just about every other impractical clean energy idea except hamsters on a treadmill. Has anyone suggested putting the Koch brothers on a treadmill?
  • #51
    @Ryuo "Anybody know how long solar panels store power?"

    They don't. The solar panels collect the energy that is converted to dc power and stored in batteries. The batteries then supply power to whatever is dc powered via a regulator or through a converter to be used as ac power.

    The duration of power is dependent on the batteries.

    Solar power is a lot more than a bunch of "windows" and isn't cheap to set up. 2 years ago the cost of the set up wasn't worth the saved money in energy use.

    I personally don't think "solar roads" will be anything realistic in our life time.
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  • #30
    This would be awesome...if it worked....we need to try something like this for the future...I wish the project well.....I also liked it yesterday....when I voted it up as a link...remember when links made the front page? they just seem to write their own articles from the links we have submitted...just another form of capitalism ....I suppose
  • #135
    @Placratotle Actually, oil companies are the biggest investors/sponsors of solar power in the world.

    Not because it's useful, but because it's so unreliable that for every 1MW of solar or wind power, you have to build 2MW of gas-turbine power to act as a backup when the power fails. So, little by little those companies gain more market share.

    Of course, that isn't in the renewable energy narrative, they want to think solar and wind will save the world.
  • #139
    @daclark1911 - it won't ever get cheap if everyone waits until it's economical. There has to be demand to increase production.
  • #144

    Not my problem, like most folks I live on a budget.
    That said solar panels get cheaper everyday. What we're really waiting on is grid updates and smart meters so we can feed our home solar generated power back into the grid.
  • #151
    @daclark1911 Think about how expensive it was to buy a computer in 1987 that had a 1MB hard drive, and 256Kb's of ram... about 3-4K. Technology is moving faster now than it was from 1987-2007. Cheap alternative energy is not anywhere near out of reach.
  • #160

    Power production is vastly different from power consumption. Do you see flying cars everywhere, that's what we would have if mechanical systems advanced as fast. Back when I was growing up the expectation from the 60's moon landing is we would have colonies up there by now.
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  • #200
    @Arumizy I remember walking into a Best Buy about 12 years ago and saw the first flat screen TV for $10,000. I loved it, but thought it was obviously unaffordable. Although they are not a dime a dozen, they are probably in most homes today.
  • #54
    I just love how the media and politicians are still apparently stuck in the 1950's paradigm of "technology is going to solve all of our problems in the future"- just like they said we'd be living in colonies on the Moon and flying around weith jet backpacks today, in the 50's! LOL!

    Did it ever occur to them, that maybe the answer isn't more and more technology (The cost of which always seems to be borne by the taxpayers; and the administration of which always ends up requiring even more government...) but rather, maybe, just maybe, the answer is for people to live more sustainable lives? Instead of commuting 100 miles a day to work, maybe live and work in the same community or work at home? Instead of massive (and disfunctional) state-funded technologies fueling our economy (which is really nothing more than the redistribution of wealth) maybe what we need is a return to actually making things and growing things locally, and keeping economies local instead of "global"- you know, the way people lived for thousands of years up until recently- and which worked quite well?!

    Forget this pie-in-the-sky "future" built upon the marvels of technology. What we need is to get back to the basics of a real economy, in which individuals supply the things which are in demand. Instead, what they are proposing, are always ideas that cost massive amounts of money to establish...and which continue to consume wealth in order to sustain, and maintain and replace when it wears out or breaks. Idiocy!

    It costs millions of dollars just to pave a a few miles of road in an open area...could you imagine if the streets had to be "paved" with solar panels?! Dear goodness! Lunacy!

    Prtetty sad that adults would even contemplate such things.
  • #1
    When I was around 16 living in CO. My cousin, 14 had this idea . Ha had said he thought they should out solar panels along the sides of the road with some kind of heating element that would run under the pavement to melt the snow off the highway. This was 30 years ago.
    Kind of blew my mind when I read this article, can't wait to to tell him.
  • #4
    There have actually been experiments along that line. They're usually opposed as "too costly." But then infrastructure maintenance keeps getting put off for the same reason. "Maybe next year," or "It's just not in the budget."
    There have been three or for times over the last ten years where it was reported by the newspapers, or TV news that some state was wondering what to do with excess funds in one department or another. To my knowledge, no one has proposed putting the funds into infrastructure maintenance.
    In conclusion: expect them to say the same thing about projects to implement the use of this technology.
  • #76
    @DragonHawk1959 I don't buy that excuse any more. There is always a budget for corporate welfare, warfare, foreign aid, pay raises, politicking, and anything else that the elite deem necessary to maintaining their power and privilege.
    Unfortunately, we're going to have to deal with this just as we would a junkie. Get rid of the drug dealer first, drive him out of the country, kill him, lock him up, I really don't care just get rid of him. Then deal with the "road to recovery" so-to-speak for the former clients until they're clean and ready to face reality again.
  • #39
    I'm not sure. My support hinges of a few key criteria. If the project was solely constructed by 100% American labor employed by 100% American private businesses using 100% American manufactured components and NO GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES, I'd be for it 100%.
  • #32
    It would be a waste of tax money for the return or benefit we would get it. We most likely would have to pay for it thru taxes or tolls to use the roadway and then again for the electricity that would be produced. Not to mention the cost overruns as they always are incurred with government and state run projects, more taxes spent. Then in few years a tax or charge for maintenance and upkeep. So all I see is the taxpayer getting screw all the more. For what?
  • #29
    Progress has stopped; it no longer has meaning. My generation, born with so many benefits and limitless opportunities has degenerated into a self-serving group of old farts. We've gone from doing works of good in concert to each becoming a Dickens' Scrooge and to hell with anyone else. We have no creativity, no dreams, no compassion. We pampered our kids with materialistic things instead of giving them the visions of a future of wonderful surprises and joy in the unknown. So solar roads? Don't make me laugh. We can't even fix a pothole.
  • #68
    AND aqueducts along our major freeways to capture flood water and redirect it to storage areas that are experiencing drought conditions! I-10 could carry flood water all the way to the west coast!
  • #45
    Considering how bad our roads are now, our bridges are falling down around us. I find it hard to believe this country will make the funds available to replace even a single foot of regular paved road with solar. My city is having problems just repairing the pot holes.
  • #84
    They're having problems with it because of the whole inefficiency of the system.
    The damage has to be reported, the repair crews have to be scheduled, the potholes are filled in creating noxious fumes, diverting traffic for days at a time and possibly months if the damage is extensive.
    During that same time, that section of road could be replaced with this system. Then the notification would be instantaneous, the repair would be all of replacing the damaged panels, or if it was extensive damage, disconnect that section from the road, put another one in, reconnect it and recycle the damaged one for later use.
    I have to agree that it probably won't happen for different reasons though.
    The petroleum addicts want their fix.
    Their pushers are making too much money.
    It makes sense. When was the last time that the American people EVER insisted on something that made sense?
  • #47
    Well the question isn't if it costs more than regular roads, because it does more than regular roads--it also generates power.

    The question is, is the higher cost of generating power with solar roads (including build costs) off-set by the normal cost of paving roads (where we'd be saving money), or does the electricity this would generate not be enough to make this financially viable?

    I'm guessing this idea will only be workable in sunny climates like the Southwest. In portions of the world where snow and slush would ordinarily cover large swaths of these solar panels, I don't think this would be financially viable.
  • #60
    Very much so. The inefficient processes that it would replace, the money on energy production, the increase of traffic safety, the ability to tie in innumerable alternative modes of public transportation in addition to the vehicles traveling on it...the possibilities for this system are VERY exciting.
    ...well, they are unless you make your money in petroleum. Then you're going to have to rethink your entire industry if you want to stay relevant. And that is fine by me.
  • #110
    @russgus2000 whether or not it is cost effective is a mathematical issue, not a debate. Your arguments are all well and good, but it doesn't mean that the units will produce enough revenue to pay for themselves or offset their costs (I'm guessing the second to be more likely) in the lifespan of THAT UNIT. It does no good to say all the expected benefits, because they may well be accurate, but wont necessarily offset the costs.
    For instance, a mile may generate $1million in 5 years, and that is all well and good. If the mile costs $5 million and must be replaced every 3 years, however, it does not pay for itself and really doesn't offset the increased cost.
    "Its very exciting." Yes, and excited and rational do not go hand in hand. In fact, they are quite often mutually exclusive. When dealing with something that is both this expensive and has the potential for a huge impact on a task that is alredy hazardous, it is good to take a metered approach...
    One issue I dislike about it from the start is that it lights up. There is such a thing as information overload, and if you can see all the dividers and markings for 1 mile because they light up independently, that is going to be confusing. Not to mention they will hamper your night vision. Airplane manufacturers discovered a similar issue when they tried to create HUDs that projected up in the pilots line of sight. The pilots had trouble focusing on what they needed to and it increases crashes, so they did away with it.
    I am acutely aware of this, because I have damaged corneas that split incoming light. If I am looking at something that reflects or gives off light, it is distorted. This becomes very confusing when driving in citie at night because there are so many lights to distinguish from one another. It is far easier for me to drive backroads at night.
    Increasing the complexity and sheer distance that a driver could see would likely have a similar affect.
  • #111
    @The_Bald_Guy the fact that it can warn you of potential danger is very cool, but vehicle manufacturers have already developed technology that does the same thing and is projected to be available in the near future. In fact, they are test driving vehicles with true autopilot now.
    So while it may be cool on paper, it is redundant, and could actually be hazardous to suddenly have text flashing on the road distracting/blinding drivers.
  • #122
    @The_Bald_Guy and how much revenue do the current roads produce? This isn't something to be done for profit, it's something that just needs to be done.
    We used to not tell the world we were the best, we simply did things that proved this.
  • #126
    @russgus2000 it isn't a matter of how much the current roads produce. I don't believe that they will "pay for themsleves" for a second because far to often people who make such claims compare extremely long term revenue against first time installation without consideration of maintenance costs or life span of the units. So we are talking about how much the cost is offset. If the cost of installation and maintenance minus revenue generated over average life span is considerably greater than the cost of laying/maintaining current roadways, then it isn't cost effective. It doesn't matter that current roads don't generate a cent if the anual cost of upkeep is $1000 and the NET anual cost of the solar roads is $1,000,000.
    I fail to see how bankrupting ourselves and possibly increasing traffic accidents will make us the best.
    That is why I am saying I would need more info before forming an opinion, and why I believe there needs to be a serious OBJECTIVE look at the costs and lifespan of this idea. Then followed by a small, localized roll out and long trial period to see what effect it has on traffic and what the real world cost is compared to the projected cost.
    Is this unreasonable?
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