Solar Roadways

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Bart Stewart
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Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:16 am

Familiar with the story of Solar Roadways? If not, here's an introduction. It is about smart roads collecting solar power. How feasible it is remains to be proven. The company is a new start-up with a prototype solar panel. Some critics are entirely dismissive of the idea.

I think this company has at least expanded the area that could be considered for solar panels. Parking lots, sidewalks, and road shoulders could be solar paneled with a system like this, if not actual roadways.

http://www.bartstewart.com/2014/06/sola ... t-freakin/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Kaepora Gaebora » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:29 am

Except not really. You have to think: this is stuff being used on roads. There are expensive electronics in each cell. Not to mention this is made of *glass*. How long will that last under wear, even if it is tempered glass? Not to mention, glass is a slick surface especially when wet. Paved roads, however, are porous and allow some water to fall through. Also, how will one transmit that much energy over thousands of miles? You're going to need a lot of batteries and a lot of wiring and transformers to transmit power. Also, it needs to power itself.

As for where you could use solar roadways, you could instead put solar panels above the parking lots where it won't be covered by cars during the day.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:42 am

I vote this as the funnest unthinker post from you yet, Bart!
Pay close attention and try really hard to think:

[ytube][/ytube]
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24129" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:15 am

The glass is rough textured, but over time it would have to wear down on roadways, one would think. That's one of the three objections I said would have to be proved on real roads. They keep talking about it being incredibly strong, like bullet-proof glass. It also has raised bumps all over it. That would provide some traction. The glass bumps would not necessarily reach a smooth state even as they wore down.

The power should not have to travel thousands of miles. It would be the same as selling power back into the grid. They say electric cars could be charged as they drove along.

The cost of the panels is the major concern. Possibly a fatal flaw. Eliminating some features, like the LEDs, might help.

They claim that in parking lots there remain big areas not covered by cars. Cars come and go, too, so it would still work there. It does seem that you would get more juice out of building a basic roof over the parking lot and solar paneling that. It would keep the cars cooler, too.

I think panels like these might work on road shoulders, medians, sidewalks, and probably a lot of other places. Any inefficiency they may have would have to be compared to the zero power that is being generated by pavement.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:28 am

Scuffing would be a problem, certainly. Now if they put solar panels between the lanes on the interstates...
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Bart Stewart wrote:The glass is rough textured, but over time it would have to wear down on roadways, one would think. That's one of the three objections I said would have to be proved on real roads. They keep talking about it being incredibly strong, like bullet-proof glass. It also has raised bumps all over it. That would provide some traction. The glass bumps would not necessarily reach a smooth state even as they wore down.

The power should not have to travel thousands of miles. It would be the same as selling power back into the grid. They say electric cars could be charged as they drove along.

The cost of the panels is the major concern. Possibly a fatal flaw. Eliminating some features, like the LEDs, might help.

They claim that in parking lots there remain big areas not covered by cars. Cars come and go, too, so it would still work there. It does seem that you would get more juice out of building a basic roof over the parking lot and solar paneling that. It would keep the cars cooler, too.

I think panels like these might work on road shoulders, medians, sidewalks, and probably a lot of other places. Any inefficiency they may have would have to be compared to the zero power that is being generated by pavement.
In other words, no good for roadways. Solar panels in other places are already being used. A million dollar "research" scam. If you could stop in a reasonable distance on these glass surfaces, that would be very easy to demonstrate. So they didn't. :lol:

Didn't you watch the debunking video?

Look, they may have begun with honest intentions. At this point, their refusal to acknowledge the problems and making their trick video for more fundraising, shows exactly what it is.
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24129" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:50 pm

The whole reason people got excited about this in the first place is that it involves an enormous opening up of new space for solar energy collection. That, and only that, is exciting. It could still represent that, though I think not on road surfaces. The shoulders of the roads, and the medians, and other places are an entirely different proposition.

I allowed some hope for road surface use only because of the on-going, vigorous defense of the idea put up by the people at Solar Roadways. They declare their panels have been tested for traction and strength and have passed with flying colors. These panels supposedly bear up under far more weight than would ever happen on any American highway. Up to 250,000 pounds, as I recall. But when it came time to write my blog, I decided to endorse road shoulder use only, and some other less intense applications. (Which would still amount to a historic increase in solar energy collecting space!) Even then there are objections raised about transmission of the power. They claim it won't have to be transmitted that far. Location of the panels is all-important, as with any solar plan.

Solar also only generates DC power. There would have to be a conversion, involving some loss of power. The huge number of new panels would make up for that loss.

Some critics out there just don't like the idea of solar power, and condemn any application of it. Thunderf00t, who made the debunking video, is not one of these. The Solar Roadways people know all about him, and they have replied to at least some of his objections. They forcefully assert that everything they claim has been tested or checked out, and they stand behind it! To me some of it seems dubious, but not all of it. That's why I say, let's have real world trials. Check their two FAQs. The first one linked here is shorter by far. The other is quite extensive.

http://www.solarroadways.com/clearingth ... nair.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.solarroadways.com/faq.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I think Thunderf00t makes excellent points - all but one! He says the LED lights would block out star viewing. I cannot imagine those LEDs ever being anywhere near that bright. They can be customized as to brightness, and overnight they can be shut down altogether if there are no cars. Also, for a single vehicle at night, they can light up half a mile in front of the vehicle and a quarter mile behind it. Thunderf00t is right that lit up land dividers would not be needed, but I think in reality the main purpose of the LEDs was to warn motorists of hazards up ahead. You would need a slew of signs to do that now. The LEDs can be positioned within the panel to be more visible in daylight. But as I said, the LEDs are the least important part of the idea.

Thunderf00t also endorses having solar panels on the shoulders of roadways. That's at 23:15 of the video.

Parking lots are still possible applications even without a paneled roof. You would panel only the throughways, where cars pass slowly along. Not the spaces. The more solar collection the better, I say - assuming it is located where it will have plenty of sunshine to collect. Any places with shadowed streets are obviously not good candidates. The talk about doing "every road in America" was never possible.

As for the complaint about panels that lie flat, and don't track the sun, that inefficiency would be more than made up for by the number of new panels in place. The inefficiencies that some critics complain about should be measured against a scenario of not collecting solar power at all. After a panel has generated enough power to pay for itself, it produces basically free, clean energy for the rest of its life. Asphalt collects zero energy.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:32 am

You don't need solar panels tn the roadway in order to have LEDs.
They got nothing except another Greenscam.
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24129" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:16 am

There's no need for LEDs at all. That was the smallest, most eccentric part of the their idea. But bringing solar energy to the fore in a big, unprecedented way is the answer, whether it is thru this company or others. It is going to happen, and cannot be stopped.

Beats the living hell out of Oilscam.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:50 am

Bart Stewart wrote:There's no need for LEDs at all. That was the smallest, most eccentric part of the their idea.

Yet you thought to niggle over Thunderfoot's take-down, using the smallest, most eccentric part of their idea in order to try to somehow wrest a scrap of worth out of the scam. Give it up. It's a lousy scam. Nothing more to it.
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24129" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Kaepora Gaebora » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:16 am

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:Scuffing would be a problem, certainly. Now if they put solar panels between the lanes on the interstates...
You'd still face the issue of it being fragile to cars passing over it imparting a ton of torque on the glass and changing how the car behaves while merging, which is very dangerous. They only tested a tractor driving off the glass, nothing with highway speeds or differing weather conditions.

A better idea would be to put the solar panels elsewhere, like on poles with them following the sun rather than them staying motionless and not absorbing much energy at all.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:11 am

SweetPea wrote:
Bart Stewart wrote:There's no need for LEDs at all. That was the smallest, most eccentric part of the their idea.

Yet you thought to niggle over Thunderfoot's take-down, using the smallest, most eccentric part of their idea in order to try to somehow wrest a scrap of worth out of the scam. Give it up. It's a lousy scam. Nothing more to it.
You were the one who wrote "You don't need solar panels tn the roadway in order to have LEDs." I merely responded to that. The LEDs are the least important part of the whole thing.

What remains exciting about all this is having solar panels in places they had never been thought of before, as in the shoulders of roads. In the video you posted, Thunderf00t says that sides of roads would make sense for solar collection. Land alongside railroad tracks would work in many places, too. Sidewalks, parking lots, plenty of places would work. And to have solar collection in places like these, you would need something like the panels they are talking about - hardened glass that could be walked on and driven slowly over.

High speed traffic is different. This glass is strong enough to hold up under the weight of truck traffic. I just don't see how it can have the traction to stop a high speed vehicle. Raised bumps in the glass would be enough to keep slow traffic from slipping.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:19 am

Bart Stewart wrote:
SweetPea wrote:
Bart Stewart wrote:There's no need for LEDs at all. That was the smallest, most eccentric part of the their idea.

Yet you thought to niggle over Thunderfoot's take-down, using the smallest, most eccentric part of their idea in order to try to somehow wrest a scrap of worth out of the scam. Give it up. It's a lousy scam. Nothing more to it.
You were the one who wrote "You don't need solar panels tn the roadway in order to have LEDs." I merely responded to that. The LEDs are the least important part of the whole thing.
So? That was in response to your niggling, as I already pointed out...this niggling:
I think Thunderf00t makes excellent points - all but one! He says the LED lights would block out star viewing. I cannot imagine those LEDs ever being anywhere near that bright. They can be customized as to brightness, and overnight they can be shut down altogether if there are no cars. Also, for a single vehicle at night, they can light up half a mile in front of the vehicle and a quarter mile behind it. Thunderf00t is right that lit up land dividers would not be needed, but I think in reality the main purpose of the LEDs was to warn motorists of hazards up ahead. You would need a slew of signs to do that now. The LEDs can be positioned within the panel to be more visible in daylight.
.
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:21 am

Bart Stewart wrote: What remains exciting about all this is having solar panels in places they had never been thought of before, as in the shoulders of roads.
BS. It's been known for ages that they could go in many places. There's absolutely zero exciting about the scam.
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24129" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:50 am

Kaepora Gaebora wrote:
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:Scuffing would be a problem, certainly. Now if they put solar panels between the lanes on the interstates...
You'd still face the issue of it being fragile to cars passing over it imparting a ton of torque on the glass and changing how the car behaves while merging, which is very dangerous. They only tested a tractor driving off the glass, nothing with highway speeds or differing weather conditions.

A better idea would be to put the solar panels elsewhere, like on poles with them following the sun rather than them staying motionless and not absorbing much energy at all.
I think Gawdzilla was referring to medians where no traffic crosses over. I agree that the panels need to stay off of high speed driving surfaces. On highways with a breakdown lane and then a shoulder, the panels could go on the shoulder. They could go on sidewalks, on throughways of parking lots, medians -- endless places!

The value of this idea is that you would utilize space that is presently unused, and install enormously more solar panels than are currently in use. I don't know if tilting mechanisms on poles would collect more rays than a huge number of horizontal panels. I know tracking the sun makes a difference, exactly how much I don't know. I don't think it's fair to say that a motionless panel is "not absorbing much energy at all." Motionless roof panels have been in use for decades. Motionless blacktop can get pretty hot, too.

If every roadside, sidewalk and parking lot that received regular sunlight was equipped with these panels, that would be a hell of a lot of energy passing into the grid every day.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:06 am

SweetPea wrote:
Bart Stewart wrote: What remains exciting about all this is having solar panels in places they had never been thought of before, as in the shoulders of roads.
BS. It's been known for ages that they could go in many places. There's absolutely zero exciting about the scam.
You're saying it has been known for decades that solar panels could be made to support slow vehicular traffic and foot traffic? I don't think so.

Something else that is noteworthy -- Just within the past year there have been major developments in making solar panels more efficient. Breakthroughs, really, would not be an exaggeration to say. We are no longer talking about 1970s solar panels. This article came out yesterday ...

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/06/25/ ... y-doubled/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Solar Roadways panel can support any type of solar collection materials.

Do you consider the concept of solar energy in general to be a scam?

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:08 am

Bart Stewart wrote:
Kaepora Gaebora wrote:
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:Scuffing would be a problem, certainly. Now if they put solar panels between the lanes on the interstates...
You'd still face the issue of it being fragile to cars passing over it imparting a ton of torque on the glass and changing how the car behaves while merging, which is very dangerous. They only tested a tractor driving off the glass, nothing with highway speeds or differing weather conditions.

A better idea would be to put the solar panels elsewhere, like on poles with them following the sun rather than them staying motionless and not absorbing much energy at all.
I think Gawdzilla was referring to medians where no traffic crosses over. I agree that the panels need to stay off of high speed driving surfaces. On highways with a breakdown lane and then a shoulder, the panels could go on the shoulder. They could go on sidewalks, on throughways of parking lots, medians -- endless places!

The value of this idea is that you would utilize space that is presently unused, and install enormously more solar panels than are currently in use.
Only that wasn't this idea. This idea is a no-go and nothing else has changed because of it
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24129" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:18 am

"This idea" is solar panels that are held in thick, hardened glass that can support slow vehicular traffic and foot traffic, thus boldly going where no solar panels have gone before. That is new. It would involve the Solar Roadways panel, or something very similar to the Solar Roadways panel.

Not sure why this is so difficult to grasp. It is the same kind of panel, just not being used under high speed vehicular traffic.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by fromthehills » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:38 am

How about on rooftops? The roadways they are referring to are rural interstates. So they still have to move the power to where it's being used. Sidewalks and slower traffic areas would be covered with cars and people, so wouldn't collect much. Plus they're hot. After a snowy night, I can go out in 10-20ºF and sweep a foot of snow off of the panels to uncover an inch of ice. The heat off of the panels melts the ice near instantly. They gather UV but they also reflect heat. I have to go mow in front of them, soon, and if it's 80º out, it will be around 100º in front of those panels.

Rooftops are better, and doesn't require a new invention in glass making, so it's cheaper. And the electricity is produced where it's used, not transported many miles with considerable loss. The sun is unobstructed by traffic, pedestrians, and vandalism.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:20 pm

Bart Stewart wrote:
SweetPea wrote:
Bart Stewart wrote: What remains exciting about all this is having solar panels in places they had never been thought of before, as in the shoulders of roads.
BS. It's been known for ages that they could go in many places. There's absolutely zero exciting about the scam.
You're saying it has been known for decades that solar panels could be made to support slow vehicular traffic and foot traffic? I don't think so.
That's like asking "Has it been known for decades that you could grow some vegetables under roadways?"

Is glass a new invention, by your reckoning?
How do the Deniers get so lucky?
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:42 pm

Bart Stewart wrote:"This idea" is solar panels that are held in thick, hardened glass that can support slow vehicular traffic and foot traffic, thus boldly going where no solar panels have gone before. That is new.
Well, it is kind of new, but as demonstrated, it is also impossible to actually implement from both an engineering and economic perspective. Thus: stupid.

Or at least no smarter than the aforementioned trans-orbital pogo stick.

Lesser fatal flaws notwithstanding.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:36 am

Rob Lister wrote:
Bart Stewart wrote:"This idea" is solar panels that are held in thick, hardened glass that can support slow vehicular traffic and foot traffic, thus boldly going where no solar panels have gone before. That is new.
Well, it is kind of new, but as demonstrated, it is also impossible to actually implement from both an engineering and economic perspective. Thus: stupid.

Or at least no smarter than the aforementioned trans-orbital pogo stick.

Lesser fatal flaws notwithstanding.
Thanks for at least allowing that the concept is new. You can go round and round with Pea about that now.

This company, Solar Roadways, has agreements in their home town of Sandpoint, Idaho, to install their panels in some parking lots and pedestrian areas. That will be their first real world test. All they have had up until now were some prototypes.

They continue to insist that the panels will work on highway driving surfaces. All I said is, let's see it.

Not to sound like a broken record but I don't see why very hard glass with raised bumps couldn't be used in parking lots and pedestrian areas. (Highways, no.) They claim the glass can hold up under the weight of army tanks.

Anyway, if you have the engineering chops, maybe you can help them out or set them straight --- http://solarroadways.com/jobs.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:48 am

fromthehills wrote:How about on rooftops? The roadways they are referring to are rural interstates. So they still have to move the power to where it's being used. Sidewalks and slower traffic areas would be covered with cars and people, so wouldn't collect much. Plus they're hot. After a snowy night, I can go out in 10-20ºF and sweep a foot of snow off of the panels to uncover an inch of ice. The heat off of the panels melts the ice near instantly. They gather UV but they also reflect heat. I have to go mow in front of them, soon, and if it's 80º out, it will be around 100º in front of those panels.

Rooftops are better, and doesn't require a new invention in glass making, so it's cheaper. And the electricity is produced where it's used, not transported many miles with considerable loss. The sun is unobstructed by traffic, pedestrians, and vandalism.
I am all for solar panels on rooftops. The more the better.

Sidewalks aren't typically "covered" in people, unless you're in midtown Manhattan. Even the spaces in parking lots are open a lot of the time. There will be endless areas where these panels can effectively receive solar energy and feed it into the grid.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Matthew Ellard » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:25 am

Bart Stewart wrote: I am all for solar panels on rooftops. The more the better.
I wonder what has the greater surface area in the USA, roof tops or roads. I guess it's roads, because of highways. It's probably worth finding out.

My mate installed solar power on his roof under an Australian government tax incentive. He feeds "back into the grid" during daytime and gets a credit (not cash) on his electricity bill. He's now made a small credit profit that outweighs his original capital cost ($3,000), which he can offset as "cash" by showing his original installation invoice. In the future he will just get credits (no cash) and break even. This seems like a simple effective government incentive to me.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:37 am

Of course This is the smarter way to do parking lots. You shade the damn cars with them instead of the cars shading the panels.
http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:06 am

Bart Stewart wrote:Anyway, if you have the engineering chops, maybe you can help them out or set them straight --- http://solarroadways.com/jobs.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There is a limit to the number of fools I can suffer. It is a bad design for numerous reasons (mostly covered by thunderf00t) whether it be a roadway, parking lot, or even a pedestrian walkway. At best it will give the appearance of green but hidden inside will be a very nasty brown center.

I don't know if it is falsifiable or not from a practical standpoint but here is my well-considered opinion and prediction, Bart.

Not one ounce of coal that would have otherwise been burned will go unburned due to the installation of these panels. I'll go further: The installation of these panels will result in more coal being burned.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Major Malfunction » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:20 pm

Not to mention the energy required to mine, refine, and manufacture the materials. You might as well pave the world in gold, because that's literally what you'd be doing. There's quite a bit of gold in electronics. More by unit per weight than the ore it comes from. And copper's not that much cheaper, or much more readily found, these days.

Even the glass. Manufactured from silica (sand) and limestone (another limited fossil resource), and requiring a vast energy input to smelt. If you reckon there aren't enough mines and quarries as it is, then I hope you like living in one.

Thunderfoot doesn't even TRY to address the birth to death energy budget of even the glass, or resource availability, because from even the first insane brushstroke, the entire idea is a stronger word for impossible.

Better to put that kind of investment in a space elevator and fusion.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:35 pm

Major Malfunction wrote:Better to put that kind of investment in a space elevator and fusion.
Or even hats with little solar collectors that people walking on the walkway can wear.

The stupidity of this idea pains me, even for a vanity walkway.

When I hear and read folks cheering the wonders and pseudo-partial-panacea that is solar power I cringe at their no-doubt very-well-intentioned exultation. Solar is hard. It isn't simply throwing a panel on the roof and calling it a sunny, coal-free day. It is a system and a process and a very complex one at that.

For the bottom line of the total energy budget to be in the black demands careful management throughout the manufacture, installation, maintenance and most of all management of the system as a whole for the entire lifecycle of its implementation.

If you do any of that wrong, your energy budget is busted.

And the crimson red of the ink in that accounting bottom line is really brown; brown from the soot of the coal wasted in the failed implementation of it.

...

My wife thinks Vick's Vapor Rub will cure anything that ails you, from a nasty head cold to a broken leg.

Bless her heart. So no matter what's wrong, she rubs it on you. And the kids and I let her, because she can't stand not doing something and she wants to help we love her.

That's the way I feel about the green movement. Bless their little misguided hearts.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:32 pm

At least she doesn't make you eat the Vicks. She doesn't know about that?
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Major Malfunction » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:58 pm

Rob Lister wrote:That's the way I feel about the green movement. Bless their little misguided hearts.
If they can convince, en masse, the even more misguided politicians to flick another one of their precious economy coins into the hat of the begging sciences, whilst enjoying the superior taste and nutrition of home-grown fruit and veg, then let them, without begrudging.

It's just a couple generations ago that you didn't get fresh veg that you didn't grow in your own garden, or the next town. A day's journey.

Projection: The bicycle. The most efficient means of transport ever devised. That's my best case long range projection. With bicycIes, I give civilisation another century or two. After that, we're back to sticks and stones. And there's no coming back from that. We've used all the resources.

There will be no more accidentally discovering vast amounts of resources. Our Metal Ages and resultant technology happened because it was just lying around on the surface to be picked up. That's all gone now. Now we need to dig kilometres deep, and vast open-cut mines, where 5 grams per tonne is considered economical.

We're doomed. This planet is extinct. Humans didn't pass the test. And we've made sure no other species after us will ever have a chance. We had one shot, and we've blown it. We're too stupid, and too greedy.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:56 pm

From the website FAQ kindly linked by our resident minister of the Green Word, Bart.
Q: How much power does your parking lot generate?

A: Our parking lot is roughly equivalent to a 3600-watt solar array, and that's with only 69-percent of the surface covered with solar cells - it will be around 5200-watts when fully covered. The amount of power produced depends entirely upon the amount of sunshine available, so it varies by location, season etc.
Bolding mine. An astute practitioner of the skeptical method will note that he did not answer the question. Instead, he told you what the equivalent installed capacity was. Theoretical capacity is not actual capacity, especially when the nameplate capacity is greatly modified and installed incorrectly. It is beyond the pale that he does not know the honest answer to that question. So why not provide the real answer?

One with a Doctorate of Skepticism (otherwise known as a cynic that can do the math) might also point out that even actual capacity is not electrical utility; The energy budget is only credited when the power (KW) is converted to energy (KW/h) and actually used to do something, pretty blinking led's notwithstanding.

Let's see if we can answer the question for him.

If you see a mistake, I will gladly correct.


First, nameplate vs reality

0) His stated nameplate capacity is 3600W

1) His 3600 watt solar array is currently about 5 years old so with panel degradation, I estimate he's running at 90% of nameplate (references available upon request).
So 3600 * .90 = 3240W

2) Nameplate capacity assumes maximum solar insolation; perfectly perpendicular to both the sun (above) and the earth (below) on a cloudless, smog-free day; any deviation reduces that insolation, sometimes dramatically. Ignoring atmospheric insolation from his latitude, for a non-tracking seasonally unadjusted fixed installation he can expect about 70% of optimum annual insolation,
so 3240 * .70 = 2268W

3) We talked about proper fixed angling and seasonal unadjusted penalty, but this is extra bad. His are fixed at 0 degrees. For his latitude, a perfect fixed year round installation would have the panels pointing south at a 60 degree angle. So a little trig and we discover the solar angle of incidence is roughly 30 degrees, the sine of which being .5, so his panels have only 50% exposure.
So, 2268 * .5 = 1134W

4) Along with perfect exposure, our Nameplate value assumes an unobstructed exposure to the sun. and boy-oh-boy is he ever obstructed. He has covered his panels with crappy clouded textured glass. I conservatively estimate the loss at 50% but I'm probably being far to generous. 70% is far more likely due to scattering, and after a year or so of kids skateboarding on it, far worse than that.. But 50% it is.
So, 1134 * .5 = 567W

5) Nameplate also does not include little things like clouds and snow and rain and a little thing I like to call night. For his sake, and because I may have been a little overzealous in my cuts (though I think I was under-so), let's pretend every day in his world is perfectly sunny and still has rainbows. Night still happens. Over any given 24 hour day, the output of his solar array will approximate a half wave sine so average power will be 32% of peak power.
So, 567 * .318 = 180W.

6) It is not enough to average that power over 24 hours, we must also store the portion we get during the day so that we can use it at night. Lead-acid is a very cost effective and efficient solution. Due to the already low output, we only need one and can store it under a single paver. Efficiency estimates vary according to many factors but 85% is a reasonable, and conservative, estimate.
180 * .85 = 153W

His ridiculous 3800 watt solar array has been reduced to barely enough power to light an incandescent house bulb.

Is it any wonder he didn't provide a direct answer? Next time you hear how much solar capacity some green person, state or even nation has installed, do the fuggin' math. And check their coal plants too. Don't touch, those boilers are likely hotter than normal.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:24 am

Rob Lister wrote:
There is a limit to the number of fools I can suffer. It is a bad design for numerous reasons (mostly covered by thunderf00t) whether it be a roadway, parking lot, or even a pedestrian walkway. At best it will give the appearance of green but hidden inside will be a very nasty brown center.

I don't know if it is falsifiable or not from a practical standpoint but here is my well-considered opinion and prediction, Bart ...
Solar Roadways is definitely a falsifiable concept. It is going to be tested, at various locations in Sandpoint, Idaho. The first areas are to be ready by the spring of 2015. They should be able to do speed braking tests, and the whole enchilada, at that time.

Thunderf00t's main objections were about using the panels on high speed driving surfaces. He said solar collection on unused lands at the sides of roads was a possibility. He balked at using parking lots, because cars cover the spaces. But parking lots are not all parking spaces. They have almost as much area for the throughways, where cars move slowly along.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:30 am

Rob Lister wrote: Solar is hard. It isn't simply throwing a panel on the roof and calling it a sunny, coal-free day. It is a system and a process and a very complex one at that.
Kind of like refining gasoline.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:39 am

Major Malfunction wrote: We're doomed.
You may be right. Only in the most recent times have we noticed what we are doing to this planet. Before that it was out of sight and out of mind. Whether or not we have time to correct course is unknowable at this juncture.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Bart Stewart » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:28 am

Rob Lister wrote: His ridiculous 3800 watt solar array has been reduced to barely enough power to light an incandescent house bulb.
Of the six points you listed only # 3 and # 4 pertain exclusively to the Solar Roadways panel. The other four can be applied to the concept of solar energy in general. Judging by what you have written elsewhere, you hold no hope for solar energy at all. Nothing but contempt. Okay, why has the marketplace rewarded it with such growth over such a long period of time? Not just in hippie dippy America, but in China, and -- all over the world. As you well know. Solar is a major growth industry.

Also, solar continues evolving. There was zero response to my mention of the recent breakthroughs in solar cell efficiency. This most recent breakthrough follows others from recent years. Solar panels are becoming ever more efficient.

But getting back to your post, let's allow that the Solar Roadways panels are inefficient by today's standards. Remember, they are meant to be used where no solar collection is being done at all, and they are meant to be deployed in huge quantities. Their per-unit cost would drop significantly with mass production. Cut out the LEDs and other unnecessary complications and they would be cheaper still.

So if you had vast numbers of these inefficient panels, well-located in sunny locations, with the end users nearby, would that alter your math at all? Take the end number you arrived at and multiply it by however many millions of panels would be in place over time. You would be lighting more than a house bulb.

The bottom line is still what I said about twenty posts back. The tests will tell the tale. The Solar Roadways concept will certainly change, as most concepts do upon leaving the prototype stage. You are on record as thinking that solar is bullshlt, and fossil fuels are the way of the future. Okay. Goodnight.

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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Major Malfunction » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:46 am

Put the panels on the roof. Where you, you know, live.

It's BS, Bart. Just let it go. There's not a single good idea in the whole concept.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by scrmbldggs » Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:34 am

We've got some solar powered LED roadsigns, I think it would be great if it was used more on traffic lights too. But roads/pavement, sounds kinda nuts. And not only for the slickness, wear and tear, but also lights out during rush hour and traffic jams and pile-ups. :-P
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by SweetPea » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:16 am

Bart Stewart wrote:
Rob Lister wrote: His ridiculous 3800 watt solar array has been reduced to barely enough power to light an incandescent house bulb.
Of the six points you listed only # 3 and # 4 pertain exclusively to the Solar Roadways panel. The other four can be applied to the concept of solar energy in general. Judging by what you have written elsewhere, you hold no hope for solar energy at all. Nothing but contempt. Okay, why has the marketplace rewarded it with such growth over such a long period of time? Not just in hippie dippy America, but in China, and -- all over the world. As you well know. Solar is a major growth industry.
Guess you haven't heard about
Government handouts for factories making them so that they can be sold.
Subsidies for people buying them.
Ultra high FIT( feed in tariffs) so that electricity generated is paid for at much higher rate than the cost of electricity...subsidized by consumers of electricity.
etc.
And I guess you haven't heard about so many big solar equipment companies going tits up all over the place even with all that going on.
What a dead loss it is, talking sense to Bart Stewart
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Major Malfunction » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:31 am

And you're not talking about the wave of fossil energy subsidies our civilisation is riding on. You refuse to acknowledge it's breaking and the beach is right there.

That's why you're not pilot or a captain, Sweetness. No-one with half a brain would get aboard your ship.
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Re: Solar Roadways

Post by Rob Lister » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:51 am

Bart Stewart wrote:
Rob Lister wrote: His ridiculous 3800 watt solar array has been reduced to barely enough power to light an incandescent house bulb.
Of the six points you listed only # 3 and # 4 pertain exclusively to the Solar Roadways panel.
The topic is Solar Roadways.

Solar is fraught with problems. It is hard, hard, hard to do right. Solar roadways, walkways are doing it wrong, wrong, wrong. That was my point. He's getting out of it 1/24th of what he is putting in. That's before we consider his other costs, such as casting ridiculous glass pavers.
Bart Stewart wrote:Judging by what you have written elsewhere, you hold no hope for solar energy at all. Nothing but contempt.
The math is the math. Any hope it holds is in there. I only have contempt for those that say it is something it clearly is not. Greater contempt for those that say it is helping where it is hurting. And greatest contempt for those that, having been shown the math, still think it is about the cost or efficiency of the panels alone. The panels are the least problematic part of the problem.
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