Solar Highways Video — Solar Roadways

In 2007, a ton of liquid asphalt cost $175. By 2010, it had increased to nearly $1,000 per ton. Enter Solar Roadways, an Idaho-based company formed to figure out renewable, sustainable alternatives to traditional asphalt roadways.

Using funds awarded by a US Department of Transportation grant for an “intelligent pavement that could generate power and pay for itself,” Solar Roadways has developed prototype photovoltaic panels to build solar highways. Challenges have included figuring out how to make glass, which is typically slippery, work as a driving surface and positioning smart LEDs in the right places on the panel to make them visible to drivers.

The result is impressive, however, both in terms of power generation potential and features of the panels. Special “sidewalk panels” have embedded sensors that can detect the weight of pedestrians and alert drivers via flashing messages across the LEDs embedded in the surface of the panels. Hopefully, we will see this creative solution being deployed before too long. Traditional asphalt is made from fossil fuels. And it’s dumb stuff. The solar roadway panels will not only pay for themselves; they’ll be smart. That’s a no-brainer.

Solar Roadways’ Website

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