Only a few short months ago solar roadways became a plausible, realistic solution to our energy shortage.
It was thanks to this video, that has since been viewed over 18 million times, that we became aware of the technology and potential futuristic life we could develop. We really recommend you watch it!
Solar Roadways – The Future is Here
The video does portray a more economical, safer and adaptable way of travel. Being able to change lanes using LED lights instead of a person physically laying out cones; or sensors informing the driver well in advance of an accident or animal on the road could in fact save lives and resources.
But the main thing is that the road is made of solar panels! It continuously generates energy which means capital! Eventually everyone will be able to drive electric cars creating only a minimal carbon footprint so we will save the environment at the same time.
If all the roads in America were to be converted into solar roadways, it would generate three times the amount of energy that it currently uses!
In terms of design, the electric cables will run underground in chambers next to the roads which will eliminate the need for overhead cables. That makes our living environment much safer as there would be no threat of falling cables or trees falling onto them and causing blackouts.
In 2006, Julie and Scott Brusaw invented this technology and now it is going to be a reality. Both the Netherlands and the US are installing a trial for solar roadways! If the trial is a success then in the long term this could turn into the future that we have only seen in movies…
Pause for thought
There are some questions that are already causing concern for distribution and network operators around the world, for example, managing the huge increase in ‘embedded’ energy generation into pre-existing, overloaded networks that were never designed to flow both ways! And often, the developers may not fully appreciate the risk to their equipment or people in the vicinity from an ‘imported fault’ from the HV line. Would one fault wipe-out the entire road network? Are we relying too much on technology?
I am sure that there are many more aspects to consider such as economical impacts but for now a solar roadways trial is underway and we are taking a huge step forward in renewable energy.
Written by: Niall Cardwell, GreyMatters
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Featured Image: GreenTechMedia