This might be a three part blog instead of a two part one. I’m way more hesitant than I should be about this subject. The thing is, a lot of the people in this program are REALLY enthusiastic about Solar Roadways, and I don’t want to be the biggest downer of all time without due cause.
The main issue with solar roadways is that, simply put, it is inefficient. I don’t mean to imply that solar energy itself is inefficient, just that solar roadways are an inefficient method of gathering solar energy. The most obvoius issue is the installation problems it prevents. how long would it take to replace a road with the solar panels that make up a solar roadway? More importantly, how much money would it cost? Tearing up every road in America, especially highways, would take an incredible amount of money and resources.
Of course, that problem could be easily ignored if, rather than replacing old roads with solar roadways, we simply use solar roadways for creating new roads. However, that does not solve every issue. Would it not be just as useful to build solar panels that could generate just as much energy somewhere else? The problem with roads is that they are very close to the ground, and often surrounded by trees and houses. Not exactly prime real-estate for solar panels. For the same amount of money it would take to make a solar road, one could easily make a solar farm that would generate far more energy.
I don’t mean to completely smash everyone’s dreams here. Solar roadways are, as a concept, a pretty decent idea. The issue is that it is just too expensive. Roadways and solar panels are two things that do not really need to be combined. If it cost just as muh to make a solar roadway as it did to make a regular roadway, then, of course, it would be an excellent idea. This may sound odd, but I do think it was a good decision to fund the prototype. There will definitely be niche situations where having solar panels that fucntion as roadways will be useful, and it’s a good technology to have for those situations. Plus, devlopents for making solar panels into roadways can be applied to other solar developments in the future, improving the technology as a whole. However, replacing all the roads in the country with solar panels is simply not all that plausible.
Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get excited or keep up with its development. Just don’t set your expectations too high! Think of it as a fun experiment rather than the next big step in how we get our electricity.
If you disagree with me, please say so in the comments! I will probably not read them. I might, though. There’s always a chance.