Author Topic: Solar roadways  (Read 4265 times)

lazysundays

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Kaminoge

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 07:41:15 AM »
I think that solar roadways are an amazing idea. But unlikely to be realised any time in the near future. Big Oil would put a stop to it quick smart if they really thought it was going to take off.

I'd love to see them start to appear in driveways/parking lots etc though.

nereo

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 08:47:01 AM »
love the idea - but I suspect the reason we're not funding this has nothing to do with "big oil" and comes down simply to "what's the lowest cost solution".  Right now there majority of roofs don't even have PVs, and that's a proven solution with a ROI of only a few years in many areas of the country.
Solar freakin roadways have a lot of potential (e.g. embedded lights, snowmelt) for certain applications, but even at mass-production the power delivered per unit cost wont' compete with PVs.

GuitarStv

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 11:03:21 AM »
I like the idea in concept . . . but am somewhat sceptical regarding how effective and durable these would be.  I mean, our roads are made of asphalt and concrete . . . and they get chewed up badly every winter due to water seeping into cracks and displacing segments, causing bits of road to ripple up and get smashed down by the traffic.  These solar panels look like they've got dozens of cracks to permit water to enter and get underneath to freeze.
Does the heat generated warm the panel enough to combat ice at -40 degree days?
Does it heat enough during a very heavy snowstorm to preclude the need for snow removal?
How does the heat work after say, a two week period with little to no light in the dead of winter?
How well do the panels work when covered in gravel, dust, and grease typical of the average road?
How much does this stuff cost?

mozar

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2014, 11:16:16 AM »
I want this for my deck. They met their funding goal so it's all good.

TomTX

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2014, 11:46:58 AM »
Solar panels in the roadway are dumb, for a variety of reasons.

1) You're gonna get at least twice as much energy by putting the solar panels on poles in the median, or on a roof due to angle and thinner glass.

2) You will get a lot of sunlight lost due to vehicle shadows, debris on the road, skid marks and general scuffing, beyond the halving above.

3) There is a LOT of lower hanging fruit. Use solar panels as patio/driveway/parking lot shades. Mount them on roofs. Et cetera.

4) Cost is astronomical. Even when they hit scale efficiencies, these puppies are set in some deep concrete footings. Cost is going to be HUGE compared to a conventional asphalt/hot mix road. Orders of magnitude more.

5) The inventors have no idea how the grid works, as evidenced by their "virtual storage" handwaving.

6) How exactly are panels covered with snow going to generate the heat to melt the snow? Black asphalt roads will work better for this purpose anyway, due to better absorption.

7) Even if "virtual storage" weren't a fantasy, the calculations on energy production versus energy use due to all the doo-dads (lighting, heat) looks pretty poor.

warfreak2

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2014, 01:02:57 PM »
If I were more cynical (or perhaps, less cynical?) I might believe that this idea is just a way to check if somebody has any clue at all, in an engineering job interview. Like, "what's a better place to put solar panels - on a roof, or under the wheels of every truck?" Sorry to those saying it seems like a good idea, but it just fails the most basic common sense tests. It sounds like a child's idea.

deborah

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2014, 08:48:11 PM »
I think it's fantastic! Not for places that get snow (where would all the water go, and what would happen if you got a metre one night), but the playgrounds that change  would be really cool (especially if you could program them yourself) - imagine a maze game that changes as you walk along it (you and your opponent can change the maze as you compete).

dragoncar

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2014, 03:32:05 PM »
If I were more cynical (or perhaps, less cynical?) I might believe that this idea is just a way to check if somebody has any clue at all, in an engineering job interview. Like, "what's a better place to put solar panels - on a roof, or under the wheels of every truck?" Sorry to those saying it seems like a good idea, but it just fails the most basic common sense tests. It sounds like a child's idea.

But, but... solar = electricity and electricity = money!

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 12:40:04 PM »
Apparently this project is funded, but I'm quite skeptical that it will make a good road or a good solar panel.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways

Bill76

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Re: Solar roadways
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 02:43:42 PM »
Solar panels in the roadway are dumb, for a variety of reasons.

1) You're gonna get at least twice as much energy by putting the solar panels on poles in the median, or on a roof due to angle and thinner glass.

2) You will get a lot of sunlight lost due to vehicle shadows, debris on the road, skid marks and general scuffing, beyond the halving above.

3) There is a LOT of lower hanging fruit. Use solar panels as patio/driveway/parking lot shades. Mount them on roofs. Et cetera.

4) Cost is astronomical. Even when they hit scale efficiencies, these puppies are set in some deep concrete footings. Cost is going to be HUGE compared to a conventional asphalt/hot mix road. Orders of magnitude more.

5) The inventors have no idea how the grid works, as evidenced by their "virtual storage" handwaving.

6) How exactly are panels covered with snow going to generate the heat to melt the snow? Black asphalt roads will work better for this purpose anyway, due to better absorption.

7) Even if "virtual storage" weren't a fantasy, the calculations on energy production versus energy use due to all the doo-dads (lighting, heat) looks pretty poor.

Thank you.  You just made all the same points I was going to make.  I read about this yesterday, and I just wanted to scream, especially when they talked about heating the roads to prevent freezing/snow accumulation.  Asphalt makes a pretty good "black body" for solar heating (meaning it's REALLY good at absorbing heat, as we all know from standing in the road on a summer afternoon).  Your best solar cells are going to be maybe 20% efficient.  So when it's actually cold and threatening to snow, the panels will generate maybe 1/5 of the power they need to stay as warm as our current roads, and they'll need to be even warmer than that to prevent freezing.  This assumes we're smart enough to heat things up BEFORE the storms start and cover the panels.  Cold/snowy/icy days also tend to result in high demand for power (and thus, high prices), not to mention the power outages that often accompany snow and ice.

It's a great idea in the lab, and it's worth a bit of study, but there are a lot of other solar applications that seem to have a lot more going for them.