The internet is a buzz of late with the concept of solar road ways. An Indiegogo page, a website used to jump start projects with crowd-funding, set a goal of $1 million, which the Solar Roadways project has already surpassed. Started by a couple in Idaho, the project seeks to replace the roads, highway, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots with hexagon shaped solar panels. The panels would have a heavy duty glass cover over top LED lights and the solar panels themselves. The single panels could be removed and replaced without disturbing the rest of the road, making fixing issues quick and efficient. They also are programmed to radiate heat at just above freezing, meaning that snow and ice wouldn’t be able to find purchase, making slick roads a thing of the past.
The many features the project touts include LED lights that could be light up in any way they are programmed for, meaning that a basketball court could be re-lit to have foursquare courts and hopscotch lit up. Animals and debris on the road would light up, giving drivers at night plenty of warning. Signs could be written on the road, alerting drivers of things such as construction or traffic ahead of them. And on top of all this, the solar panels would function as solar panels as well, meaning that while it comes with all these fancy applications, it would first and foremost convert solar energy into a power source. Given the nearly 29,000 square miles of road currently strewn about the U.S., that is a lot of space that could be providing the country energy while serving a vital service.
Winning multiple awards as well as two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, it looks like this product could solve multiple issues the nation faces. Sure the price tag to install it over every inch of road across the country is well and far into the trillions, but it is a great step towards a sustainable economy, as the makers tout that their solar panels, if adopted nationwide, would create three times more energy than the country currently consumes. Sure it’s a pipe dream at the moment, but it’s the coolest looking pipe dream we’ve seen in a while.