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Power Week: Solar Roadways – Sci-Fi or Future Reality?

7/17/2014 12:55 PM EDT
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bovine excretement
dt_hayden   7/18/2014 11:16:20 AM
Of course it does not make financial or practical sense.  When I saw an article on these folks a few years ago in our local paper (these folks are up north in the same state), I also cried bovine excretement!   The level of hype on so many fronts is a warning sign in itself.   The proposal is not rocket science, if it made sense, it would have been pursued earlier and by more people.  These "inventors" are riding the wave of government funding (and now apparently crowd funding) and are obviously passionate about the possibility of becoming obscenely rich off such a large scale project.  The saddest part is the engineer on the project failing to examine basic limitations of his idea.

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waaromikke   7/18/2014 9:13:00 AM
If people are willing to invest 5B$ in a non-functional social network site (CYMK) then why not spend 2M$ on a non-functional solar project?

I agree with most of what is mentioned in the video. I almost feel ashamed/embarrased that an engineer started this project (a marketing person... yeah that sounds plausable).

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Put the money in the right place
prabhakar_deosthali   7/18/2014 1:52:55 AM
If they have funds to build such costly solar panel roads all over united states , why not put the same money in putting solar panels on all the house roofs free of cost.

I think putting solar panels on the roofs will cost much less to install and maintain and you will get much more energy than what has been estimated by the road netwrok, because percentage wise I think the road area will be a very small percentage of the roof area of all the houses, buildings alongside those roads.


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Melt ice and snow?
Doug_S   7/17/2014 9:23:11 PM
I'd love to see what material they hope to make these out of that they can stand up to a snow plow (since it can be cloudy for a week in winter and the sun is pretty feeble up north in late December anyway)


Not to mention how they'll hold up to salt, sand, and freeze/thaw cycles in the gaps between panels.


If you wanted to put them in a parking lot, I'd rather see them used as a ROOF over the parking spots so your car doesn't get 1000 degrees in summer and you're protected from the rain.  Probably cheaper to do that since you don't need special tough panels and more importantly if they're the parking lot THEY WON"T MAKE POWER WHERE CARS ARE PARKED!  Did no one think this through?  I guess if a company invents a way to make extra durable solar panels they have to think up a market for it...

David Ashton
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Re: Thank You!!!
David Ashton   7/17/2014 7:28:45 PM
@Steve92 I was sceptical when I read this and it is nice to have this confirmed by someone far more qualified to comment than I am.  There are far better environments for Solar panels than roadways.  If you want power near roads, put the panels on nearby home roofs (angled better to catch the sunlight) and pay them a bit for the service.  Or in adjacent fields, and pay the farmers.  Who would pay for cleaning the cells on the roadways - they would rapidly get obscured by the dirt, tire rubber, etc that would accumulate on them.  Apart from roadways being a public space they seem to have few other advantages.

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Thank You!!!
steve92   7/17/2014 6:57:37 PM
I have been an EE for a long time, receiving my BSEE in 1992, and have worked in engineering and engineering management at several high tech companies. The hype around this solar roadways thing has been unbelievable to me, because it is so clearly impractical. I agree completely with the "Bullshit" video, and any other EE worth his salt will too. Yes it does sound really cool at first, conjuring up images of these sparking roadways that provide this huge amount of power. But less than a minute of critical thinking clearly shows it is not a good idea, even if technically feasible. The cost to build and maintain vs the power output is not even close. This really does show that much of our society clearly has more money than brains and it saddens me. We have plenty of cheap desert space to put solar panels at a far better cost/benefit ratio. Putting them in a road doesn't improve that ratio, in fact it makes it far worse! Perhaps the thinking is that we don't have to pay to build and maintain roads (the government does), thus this would be free power. They are going to use solar power to melt the ice on the road! Well guess what? When there is ice the solar panels will not get any sun and won't make power! Not to mention that asphalt is actually more efficient than silicon at converting sunlight to heat (ever walk barefoot on pavement on a hot summer day?) Come on people, we can do better than this. Thank you for the BS video, it gives me hope that all is not lost.

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