Solar Roadways

Submitted by: kitteh9lives 4 years ago Misc

What if roads and parking lots were solar? Could it work I-A-B?
There are 32 comments:
Male 1,293
"What if roads and parking lots were solar?"

At today`s technology, or any in the foreseeable future, it would destroy the environment at great cost for no significant gain.
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Male 12,365
So...Angilion`s plan to save the world?

Use renewables as appropriate for local conditions and as a fairly small part of power generation, i.e. not enough for the ureliability and uncontrollability to impose too high a cost on the generation and transmission of electricity.

Put more money into nuclear fusion research and development, because that`s a genuine long-term solution.

I`d suggest putting more money into battery research too, but that`s one area where profit-driven research is actually working quite well.
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Male 12,365
Or how about solar in the USA? Take a quick look at surface area and insolation and national electricity usage and...holy crap! You could power the whole of the USA from a quarter of the Mojave desert! It must be <insert conspiracy babble here> stopping it!

Well, no. It`s people who are willing to do what AntEconomist rightly state is almost always not done - consider the energy and environmental costs and be honest about them when evaluating a proposal.

You could do it, but you`d have to destroy entire ecosystems, borrow far more money than any countries would lend you, spend years building the infrastructure and still have to keep most of your existing power stations running to maintain constant reliable supply on demand.
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Male 12,365
Oh, and the solar road thing?

It`s ludicrous babble. It`s the sort of thing that gives the whole idea of "renewables" a bad reputation. It`s impossible with existing technology and might never be possible. It would require huge amounts of resources to implement at vast cost. It would require huge resources to maintain it at vast cost. It`s something that a young child might come up with - imaginative but implausible and unsubstantiated.

If you want wishful thinking with a bit more behind it, the magic word right now is "graphene". If anyone comes up with a way of making it cheaply, all sorts of things could follow.
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Male 12,365
Solar would be superb in some parts of the world, although for at least the near future it should be CSP rather than PV. It would be far more efficient to have solar power stations in Africa and transmit the electricity to the UK than to have solar power stations in the UK.

Wave and tidal power could be superb in the UK.

Geothermal is superb in Iceland.

Geography matters when it comes to "renewables".
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Male 12,365
I think we should switch to other ways of generating electricity, for political, environmental and long-term economic reasons. We need viable alternatives in place because oil and gas have already given far too much power to our enemies, will becoming increasingly expensive and are dirty.

What we don`t need to do is to throw resources willy-nilly at anything labelled "green" and lie about the costs.

Solar PV in the UK is a perfect example. It`s bullpoo. The geography is wrong. PV panels aren`t sustainable on a large scale anywhere because they require too many rarer resources, but they`re just plain silly this far north.
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Male 12,365
Bah, fake character count strikes again:

It`s like me paying more for petrol than you did, stealing half of your petrol and then saying my petrol cost less than yours.
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Male 12,365
5Cats, that`s just one of the more obvious ways the figure have been faked and it`s not even the most successful.

The most successful is a multistep process:

1) Force energy companies to massively subsidize "renewables" with total disregard to how viable they are in the UK. Solar PV this far north? Who cares how badly it works? It buys votes and that`s all that matters?

2) Force energy companies to pay the vast additional infrastructure and generating costs necessary for unreliable and uncontrollable "renewables".

3) Energy companies, obviously, add all those costs to the retail cost of energy.

4) Compare *generating* cost of "renewables" with *retail* cost of electricity. The comparison isn`t like for like anyway, but it`s counting a large part of the cost of "renewables" as a benefit of them - twice over!

It`s like me paying more for petrol than you did, stealing half of your petrol
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Male 334
i will have to agree about the blackouts 5cats. There are a few ways people would like to fill them but they are too just theories. but the 15 years life expectancy isnt really true. And, if we use stuff, it gets improved upon.

thing is, it may not be directly cheaper then our fuel driven ways, but it will be a lot more sustainable
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Male 36,410
@modwain: No, the wind turbines were expected to last 25 years, not forever. BUT the latest info says they lose 20-30% of their efficiency after 10 years, and would need replacing after 12-15 years on average.

The ones out at sea? Even earlier.

So hooray! They only work HALF as long, produce power at 3X or 4X the cost (already) AND don`t reduce `greenhouse gasses` very much either!
EVERY Kw of wind turbine also needs a Kw of traditional generaters for when it`s calm. Either that or have blackouts regularly...
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Male 2,513
Have you seen anyone with an old iPhone whose dropped it?

Spiderweb streets, no thanks
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Male 3,578
nice broken glass every where
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Male 334
the same is true with wind energy, yes it costs a lot to set it up at the start but after that it is relativly cheap, it keeps running ( i wont say indefinetly, because maintenance is needed ) and it is a lot cheaper then the network we have set up for oil. The thing being offcourse that we allready have a netwerk set up for it, but well, that would cost a lot of money too, so taking that into account is false accounting. if it counts for windeneergy, it should also count for our traditional versions of energy.
And there are many other ways of getting green energy, like solar heat in its many forms, tidal energy and wind energy at high altitudes. I aint sure but i think that capturing solar rays and converting them to energy may be teh easiest, but all of them, at this point in time, sem better then our traditional ways, so i aplaud innovation.

That being said, i do share the fear of frozen and wet roads, not sure how they will counter that, i hope they can.
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Male 334
5cats, tehr problem is that it isnt scifi anymore, but it will cost oil companies. Yes it costs a bunch to get it started but at the same time, once it is paid, it doesnt have to be paid constantly. For example, and this is in euro`s sorry. I spend 7500 euro on solar panels on my roof, it will drop my electricity bill by a grand total of EVERYTHING. meaning that i am produsing more energy then i use. in rougly 10 years, i will have earned that 7500 back, the thing is though, teh panels are still working after that, tehy are good for at least 25 years and have a garanteed productoin of at least 80 % of what i bought it for ( which still is enough ) the only thing i may need to replace is the converter, which is estamated at 10 years and costs about 200 euro.
If you also add that companies try to make electrical apliances use less current, this will continue to pay back ( i dont think i will get rich from selling energy, but being neurtal in this part of my footprint counts )
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Male 334
Gerry, one questoin, why more jobs for china? is asmerica that bad at creating jobs themselves?

China is trailing behind when it comes to the technology but they are turning out just about the most of the solar pannels.. i guess thats the difference with focusing solley on being inovative. they dont care about that, tehy wanna be productive.. i gues we need to find a balance, and there is no reason any country can have that balance, but they need to work for it.

And i agree with you blackcat.. unfortunatly, not every house can have solar panels, but those that can, should
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Male 15,832
Let`s see...5 billion panels... times 12` x 12` each...times $100 per sq. ft. comes to...WOW! only $72 trillion...plus installation.

Sounds like a bargain. I`ll bet you can get Obama to invest in it!

I have a better idea. Let`s make the roads out of rubber, and then we can all run on concrete tires. They`d be cheap and last damned near forever! Yeah, that`s the ticket!
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Male 3,431
Been suggesting this for years.
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Female 685
OR you could get off your fat ass and put solar panels on your own damn roof and stop waiting for the rest of the world to do it for you. My grandparents had solar panels in the late 70s, never paid for hot water again.
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Female 2,549
Atleast people are taking a serious look at the alternatives.
Just a matter of time.
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Male 37,888

Yeah.....more jobs for China!
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Female 40
i think it would be a good idea for JUST parking lots. not roads. they would get worn out too fast and the cost and amount of materials would just be crazy.
at the end of the video it said that a parking lot would be installed by fall 2012, have they started/done that yet?
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Male 36,410
About snow and ice: It`s -29C tonight, I know snow!
Making the panels "self heating" only works to alter the temperature that ice forms on them, it will never comletely keep them "snow free". Thus drivers wouldn`t know if the roads were safe or not, the temperature ice forms on them varies wildly with electrified panels.
"Black Ice" would also be a constant problem, where now it`s pretty much temerature & wind specific.

Solar panels? Made In China...

@AntEconomist: Exactly! nd now it`s reported that Wind Turbines might only last HALF as long as expected? Further doubling their cost.

England bugeted for their huge Wind program, but "forgot" to mention the 100 billion pounds or more required to hook the "offshore" turbines to the power grid...

It`s a nifty idea, still "Sience Fiction" for now...
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Male 1,252
Great idea...high maintenace but the energy surplus should compensate, provided we can produce enough materials to actually bring this to fruition....how long before it becomes illegal?
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Male 3,081
And all the dirt, dust and rust dust that falls off cars all the time?


A better idea I heard was to have a network of cables strung over the roads at set intervals, only 1cm thick or so, but each cable would contain piezoelectric crystals so that when a car went over them they would generate a small amount of electricity...but get enough cars going over them like on motorways/freeways and it provide a lot of electricity...certainly enough to provide all street lighting.
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Male 371
Green energy discussions almost always ignore the energy and environmental costs to building and installing the green solutions. For example, consider replacing coal and natural gas generated electricity in the US with wind-generated electricity. The cost of the wind turbines alone is over $2 trillion (yes, "trillion"). This ignores the tens-of-thousands of square miles of mountaintops and plains you need to purchase and then deforest.

I`m all for cleaner energy, but to properly evaluate a proposed solution you`ve got to be honest about what it costs.
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Male 102
yeah, my only question is how to texture the glass to where it doesn`t totally screw tires up, but is safe to drive on when wet. Otherwise, do this NOW!
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Male 633
Where do all the electronics, glass, etc. etc. come from to make 5 billion pannels?
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Male 2,631
So now we`d be dependent on Saudi Arabia for sand... Great(Jus kiddin by the way).
Create jobs, help the economy and the ecology, reduce foreign dependence- all sounds good- and THAT`S why our government will never go for it.
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Male 762
"We would hear, `You cant drive of glass, the first time it rains you are going to slip off.`"

And...(Cups ear)... oh. You don`t have a response to that. KAY!
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Male 37,888

One problem... the gov`ment can`t maintain the roads we have and they`re just flat tar. Can you imagine when whole mile long strips of their roadway are out of service, the lanes don`t light etc.
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Male 1,627
i dont understand. how does this replace petroleum base fuels for cars?
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Female 8,044
Link: Solar Roadways [Rate Link] - What if roads and parking lots were solar? Could it work I-A-B?
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