Solar Roadway Panels – The Future is NOW!

I first read about and began writing about Solar Roadways almost two years ago, and I had the opportunity of bringing this new technology to the attention of some of the consultants working on the new General Plan for the future of my city of residence, West Covina, Ca. While little has been heard regarding advances in the development of Solar Roadways recently, at least in the United States, this week a significant new development has occurred, with the state of Missouri now involved in a plan to redevelop an existing and popular roadway with this new technology. This would be a significant advance in Green Living and pro-environment benefits for all of

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today’s society, as a single popular road rebuilt in this fashion could spur the widespread utilization of Solar Roadway panels and the further reduction of the demand for fossil fuels.

The Missouri project, a test that is very limited in scope, will involve the rebuilding of a portion of historic Route 66 near Conway, MO, with the solar panels, with the promise of producing
enough energy to power a nearby rest stop.

The concept of Solar Roadways was developed by Scott and Julie Brusaw, who have raised close to $3 Million through project funding websites to finance their developing technology of installing solar panels that produce and deliver energy to nearby users instead of the traditional paving of roadways. They also were awarded a US Department of Transportation grant of $750,000 that financed the construction of their first workable prototype, a parking area in Sandpoint, Idaho.

The panels themselves are strong enough to support the repeated weight of big rigs, include LED lights to create easily changeable lane markings, and that are also easily changed out for the replacement of damaged panels. Their asphalt-like surfaces provide traction every bit, or even better than, traditional asphalt roadways. And, in inclement weather conditions, the heat generated within the panels will melt ice and snow making roadways safer than previously possible and eliminating the cost of snowplows.

Solar Roadway panels can be used in a variety of other situations,

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from rooftop solar farms to parking lots to playgrounds. The LED lights in each panel can just as easily be configured to create the lines of a basketball or volleyball court, or the lane markings for vehicle parking.

While little has been done in the US regarding further developing
the utilization of Solar Roadway panels or even in disseminating information about the technology, it has been far different in Europe, where last year a solar bike path in the Netherlands was constructed that currently provides electrical power to nearby residents, and where in France the nation’s National Solar Energy Institute has partnered with a private company for a major project now underway to resurface over 600 miles of roadways with solar panels.

The Brusaw’s have previously calculated that in the US, three times the country’s 2009 electrical consumption could be met by having the nation’s roads and parking lots covered in Solar Roadway panels. Other estimates include the possibility of generating approximately 302.506 MWh per year per lane mile, which would be sufficient electricity to provide power to 86 homes on a two lane road.

As with any new concept or new technology that seeks to shake up the status quo and the power and wealth of the energy establishment, any number of so-called experts, funded by you can guess who, have criticized the technology, applications and likelihood of success of Solar Roadway panels, and this alone has been a major stumbling block for further projects in the US. This tide could be changing now, with the state of Missouri leading the way.

This video describing Solar Roadways has had more than 20 million views, and has been extremely helpful in spreading information about the developing technology:

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