I live in Idaho and I have been following news about a couple who have become famous for creating an innovative road surface by using solar panels. They have made a prototype and they are seeking companies to sponsor and fund them.
They are trying to replace conventional concrete pavements with solar panels that are impact resistant. They want to use these panels as a source of energy and also as road surface. I have been reading about how the concept of solar roadways has caught on with governments over the previous four years. Government officials and some futurists have been working on such ideas. This couple has taken some steps by working out a prototype by paving a parking lot in Idaho which is a twelve-foot by thirty-six foot area just outside their electronic laboratory.
I feel this prototype is something like a vision of the future when people will be paving in Edmonton with solar panels and it will become a common sight.
The design of the solar panels is mainly hexagonal and this will allow for better cover on hilly areas and curves. The panels are also heated for making it easy to remove snow and ice. They include light emitting diodes which can easily display messages and road markings.
These new panels which are covered by glass have been tested for resistance to impact as well as for traction. They have been reported to take on a sustained load of almost two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. I have even seen a video that shows a tractor owner driving it over this prototype parking lot of solar panels. This is a great step forward by subjecting the panels to conditions that replicate the real world. The couple has also gone on to provide an exclusive channel for utilities and drainage in this parking lot.
This is a fascinating project as small parking lots or crosswalks with solar panels can give power to street lamps and signs also. When you think about deploying such things across whole towns, you will be creating a full network of roads powered by solar panels and this could very well turn into a decentralized electrical grid which can easily send power to businesses and even residences.
These hexagonal solar panels will soon replace the existing roads, the driveways and the sidewalks. They will not only help in providing clean power to the grids but they will also use small amounts of energy to light embedded and emitting diodes to create the line markings on the roads and also display the warnings. They can be made to designate the parking spots. There will be no need for the snow-ploughing vehicles as these panels can be heated to remove snow and ice.