Crusty - ref storage systems. Friend of mine is about to build a new house and looked at a storage system. 5KW PV panels plus an 8 KWh (I think) storage for A$23K. The array and inverter alone would be around A$ 7k. BUT the storage means you are effectively saving 31C per KWh which is what the Electricity Co charges you, as opposed to the paltry 6c / KWh they pay you for feed-in. He did his sums and thought it was worthwhile. Its a Lithium battery storage and supposed to last 10 years. If you got 25 KWH a day from the panels, and the storage system allowed you to use it all yourself, you'd save $28K+ in that time. Doesn't sound like a very good return, though you'd be ahead a bit. I'll ask him more when I next see him.
Hi Crusty, thanks for that link. Quick calcs - these give around 50 W / m2 as opposed to a sample 185 W panel I looked at which was nearly 150 W / m2. So a fair bit less efficient, but very nice looking. And depending on cost you could cover a lot more of a standard roof with these than with panels.
PS just reread the web page - they quote a peak output of 130W / m2, sounds high, I suppose the tiles overlap a fair bit which contributes a fair bit (only 35% of the tiles are active panel). 130 W / m2 is fairly respectable.
It could be scary to most of you, but the most parctical argument why the Solar Roadways will always be a Sci-Fi and never reality (at least in Indian context)...the "road" would get stolen if you do not keep guarding every 500 mtrs (or less) of the road!! How many guards you would need? :)
I too think that it was a wastage of money!! Totally impractical concept!! As you have correctly said, snow blocking the sun is one thing, dust and mud is another one. How is that protected against rain and storm? This is far far away from future reality and looks only Sci-Fi to me. I completely agree with the "negative feedback" video.
More that the solar roadways idea, I like the emblem on the guy's T-shirt saying "I always give negative feedback" with an image of an op-amp negative feedback circuit!! :)
One wonders why these guys don't put their energies into making practical solar roof tiles. Something compatible with an existing design or designs, easily connectable and installable. Sure they would be more expensive than existing solar panels, but you could deduct the normal cost of roof tiles, which is considerable. Does anyone know if anyone has done anything like that already?
If steve92 has been an engineer for a long time, then I guess I've been an engineer for a really long time. Without looking at any details of the concept, the obvious problem is dirt, oil, debris - the junk you find on any road. Melting off snow is laughable - you don't even need a calculator to see how that is completely unrealistic. The people donating to this could have donated to a revival of Reading Rainbow instead.
I did a quick back-of-the envelope calculation a couple of weeks ago. In a severe snowstorm in the Chicago region, just in Cook County, if all the roads (excluding parking lots) were solar roadways, a 10 inch snowstorm would require over 2 hours of 45 TW of external power to melt the snow. Since they don't use solar (and couldn't when snow covered), that power has to come from outside the solar cell, and would require the full capacity of about 45 largish nuclear power plants. Their calculations apparently didn't include the latent heat to melt snow, but only observed that their panel was "warm to the touch" in cold weather. If one can't melt the snow, one needs snowplows and salt, which will ruin these solar cells. It even snows in Texas, and when it does, they usually need all their power to heat homes.
I also noted their calculation of providing 3x the power the US currently uses. They based their number on the amount of impervious surfaces, which includes roofs, so panels would be needed on every roof as well as every road, parking lot, and sidewalk, to provide 3x power.