Solar Roadways Again???

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Bart Stewart
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Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Bart Stewart » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:45 pm

I have almost a thousand posts on this board and the one that drew the most negative response by far was my little essay on the Solar Roadways scheme. That was a company proposing to install solar panels in roadways, all over the world. (And I never exactly endorsed the idea! I said maybe walkways would make a good space for solar collection.)

That was a few years ago. The idea was roundly panned here as being utterly infeasible due to glass panels not having enough traction for highway traffic, among other problems, though I came away with the feeling that some of the responses were just negative on solar power in general. I heard no more about Solar Roadways in the media, so I figured it was a passing scam. They did manage to raise $2 Million on Indiegogo.

Then, just now, I nearly fell over upon seeing an article that Solar Roadways has received a $750,000 grant from the National Highway Administration! It was in a link posted on Twitter by UBS, the big Swiss financial firm. It's a Mashable article, dated this month, and you have to scroll down a bit to where it says Solar Roadways. The article ends with an appeal for investment!

http://mashable.com/2017/11/09/climate- ... uO.AHtuOqu

I checked the FHWA site and found this, from January of last year.

https://www.volpe.dot.gov/news/new-pave ... lar-panels

I was happy to see that it concludes by saying that the panels may not be viable for roadways, but they may have some potential in walkways!

Of course, solar technology has improved enormously over two years. Prices are plunging. They are printing the material now, and transparent collection panels are coming online for use in windows. China is leading the way in the technology, as we turn away from our evil war on coal.

http://www.newsweek.com/fossil-fuels-tr ... msu-691308

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:02 pm

Yep. As technology improves, old approaches should be reevaluated. Lots of road surface just sitting there. sidewalks, Roofs.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Cadmusteeth » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:40 pm

Within reason in regards to the laws of physics.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Bart Stewart » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:33 am

Ironically, roadways may turn out to be the last surface we solarize! (Is that a word?) But there are many, many square miles of area that would be appropriate for it, especially as the technology continues to advance.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:25 am

Have you ever watched any of Thunderf00t's youtube videos critiquing Solar Freakin' Roadways?

Like this one from three months ago:

[bbvideo=560,315]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIuiZh5t9_Y[/bbvideo]

Or this one from 2014:

[bbvideo=560,315]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3ftXinT4jI[/bbvideo]

And if you really want to spend a few hours watching more of his videos just on this topic alone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocV-RnVQdcs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIFNzCUo028
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H901KdXgHs4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyTjdkNEgV0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pIfo1Dynjg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR574qhPSDY

But if you just want to limit your viewing time to less than 20 minutes, I recommend the second video I've posted.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by ElectricMonk » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:53 am

Thing is, solar doesn't actually need that much space. As Gord's video said, paving roads with it would be overkill.
Roads or walkways have other drawbacks: installation and repair would impair traffic. For both health and aesthetic reasons we try to keep walkways in shade. In cities, tall buildings keep them in partial shade most of the day.
A well placed solar farm can produce sufficient power with easier installation - no need to mix two very different types of infrastructure.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Austin Harper » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:19 pm

Dum ratio nos ducet, valebimus et multa bene geremus.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:23 am

"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by ElectricMonk » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:56 pm

https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/05/someo ... it-opened/

Maybe not so clever to make expensive equipment easily accessible for everyone...

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:52 am

Solar Roadways still.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:55 pm

Putting a roof over the road with solar panels on it solves all problems:
Sheltered from snow and ice.
Reduced road surface wear.
Reduced cost.
Proper angle of solar panels.
Does not require expensive road maintenance.

Embedding solar panels in a roadbed is just plain stupid.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:08 am

It doesn't solve the problem of transporting the power from the road to the area where it's going to serve a function. You get the same problem if you put solar panels on a border wall between Mexico and the US -- the generation location is inefficient.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:43 am

I very much like road generation because it just sits there unused otherwise. So...obvious some kind of new tech/materials needed to make it functional. For its distribution/use.....its right there! Cars in the future could be more like SLOT CARS with small batteries just to get you to the main road and from there you could be powered from the road itself. Could even be physical pickups....but I assume some kind of electromagnetic charging/power is already on the shelf just waiting to go?

Lots of possibilities. Including: no batteries at all.....just compressed air for the short trips to and from the powered road way. "The future is so bright, I just need a carbon fiber suit to protect against road burns."
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:32 pm

Gord wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:08 am
It doesn't solve the problem of transporting the power from the road to the area where it's going to serve a function. You get the same problem if you put solar panels on a border wall between Mexico and the US -- the generation location is inefficient.
Based on available information, there would be no surplus power to send elsewhere. There's not enough power to run the embedded features as it is.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:36 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:43 am
I very much like road generation because it just sits there unused otherwise. So...obvious some kind of new tech/materials needed to make it functional. For its distribution/use.....its right there! Cars in the future could be more like SLOT CARS with small batteries just to get you to the main road and from there you could be powered from the road itself. Could even be physical pickups....but I assume some kind of electromagnetic charging/power is already on the shelf just waiting to go?

Lots of possibilities. Including: no batteries at all.....just compressed air for the short trips to and from the powered road way. "The future is so bright, I just need a carbon fiber suit to protect against road burns."
We had a thread about this once as I recall, but we were once on our way to an electric-powered transportation system, but General Motors bought out the electric streetcar companies and melted down all the wires. Then they crushed all the electric cars, and now they are trying to undercut Tesla on the price of electric cars to run them out of business.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:28 pm

Landrew: yep....bizness has not changed: "Lock em UP!"

……..……...but the Earth has changed. More people coming to recognize it what with the Hurricanes we are getting now. Of note: many people saying "we are already too late." And of course: we are. Whole lot of unnecessary suffering going to occur to our kiddies and grandkiddies because: bizness.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:33 pm

Universal truth. Things are always changing. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes not.
Global warming is one of those changes, and we need to do what we can to mitigate it, and what cannot be mitigated needs to be adapted to.

Despite this, most of the changes, from the view point of humanity, are advantageous. Better medicine. Stronger economies. Fewer people starving. Longer life spans. Better technology. More freedom. Fewer evil dictatorships ( Trump notwithstanding ).

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:17 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:33 pm
Universal truth. Things are always changing. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes not.
Global warming is one of those changes, and we need to do what we can to mitigate it, and what cannot be mitigated needs to be adapted to.

Despite this, most of the changes, from the view point of humanity, are advantageous. Better medicine. Stronger economies. Fewer people starving. Longer life spans. Better technology. More freedom. Fewer evil dictatorships ( Trump notwithstanding ).
Other than that, How did you like the Play Mrs Lincoln?
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:17 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:33 pm
Universal truth. Things are always changing. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes not.
Global warming is one of those changes, and we need to do what we can to mitigate it, and what cannot be mitigated needs to be adapted to.

Despite this, most of the changes, from the view point of humanity, are advantageous. Better medicine. Stronger economies. Fewer people starving. Longer life spans. Better technology. More freedom. Fewer evil dictatorships ( Trump notwithstanding ).
We don't need any slacktivism. That's the word to describe doing something symbolically, but to no practical effect. I see a carbon tax as that; putting a cost on carbon use without affecting the climate one iota for the better.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:53 pm

landrew wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:17 pm
Lance Kennedy wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:33 pm
Universal truth. Things are always changing. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes not.
Global warming is one of those changes, and we need to do what we can to mitigate it, and what cannot be mitigated needs to be adapted to.

Despite this, most of the changes, from the view point of humanity, are advantageous. Better medicine. Stronger economies. Fewer people starving. Longer life spans. Better technology. More freedom. Fewer evil dictatorships ( Trump notwithstanding ).
We don't need any slacktivism. That's the word to describe doing something symbolically, but to no practical effect. I see a carbon tax as that; putting a cost on carbon use without affecting the climate one iota for the better.
Thats very bad thinking when HISTORY shows that taxing a resource has proven very effective. It comes down to the DETAILS of the tax. You know: effective or not? The benefit is that applying a tax is very easy to do and requires very little if any adminstration after that.....other than collecting the tax and prosecuting tax cheats. This is easier than "inspection" routines of various sorts or applications and licensing and the whole normal bureaucratic inefficiencies: Let the Market make all those small decisions.

Not to be confused with Carbon Credits where all kinds of shennanigans take place. TAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Power to Tax is the Power to KIll. Just what we should be doing to fossil carbon.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:55 pm

……....but I do like identifying LANCE as a slacktivist. Has more bite than calling him over optimistic or a Polyannish Denier. The word is not quite right but the definition is right on. Maybe FRAUDSTER is closer?
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:02 am

landrew wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:32 pm
Gord wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:08 am
It doesn't solve the problem of transporting the power from the road to the area where it's going to serve a function. You get the same problem if you put solar panels on a border wall between Mexico and the US -- the generation location is inefficient.
Based on available information, there would be no surplus power to send elsewhere. There's not enough power to run the embedded features as it is.
I missed something here. What embedded features are there in solar panels?
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by TJrandom » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:32 am

If the cars were all electric, there wouldn’t be a distribution problem - particularly if there were a direct transfer mechanism like for children’s race cars, or even maglev.

Then to satisfy the clouds, just add a nuclear reactor every 300 miles or so. ;)

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:13 am

Gord wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:02 am
landrew wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:32 pm
Gord wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:08 am
It doesn't solve the problem of transporting the power from the road to the area where it's going to serve a function. You get the same problem if you put solar panels on a border wall between Mexico and the US -- the generation location is inefficient.
Based on available information, there would be no surplus power to send elsewhere. There's not enough power to run the embedded features as it is.
I missed something here. What embedded features are there in solar panels?
They talk about it in the promotional video. Embedded lights, sensors, heating panels and such in the roadbed. Of course, if the panels aren't in the roadbed, they are separate from those things.
The job of a skeptic is to investigate the unexplained; not to explain the uninvestigated.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:28 am

There are no solar panels "in the roadway." Think of those divider line reflecting units as each being a solar collector......or like Musk's Solar Roofing Tiles, solar bricks or pavement stones each being a collector...……..or NEW TECH like nanobots spread throughout the asphalt generating electricity from HEAT gain....the trick getting it all wired up. The Pro is lots of unused space sitting around "for free" for the use, the Con, so far I assume just not efficient and too much maintenance? ………….but its "all of the above" solutions being applied. Too late.....but maybe for those that are left, they can admire if not mystified by what we almost achieved...………..
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:40 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:28 am
There are no solar panels "in the roadway."
That's the whole point of the "solar roadway" concept, if you want to watch their promotional videos.
A roadbed may be "unused space" but it's not the best place to put a solar panel by any means. In fact, it's hard to think of a worse place to put a solar panel besides embedded under glass in a roadbed.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:45 am

Landrew: I agree which is why I went with NEW tech and mentioned heat conversion….not light waves. There is also piezo-electrical for smaller uses. It would be great if most of the energy falling on and traveling over the roadways could be HARVESTED/COLLECTED.....even at inefficient rates, the net production could be worthwhile. I don't "know" this or even think it...……..just something to INVESTIGATE and keep in mind.

NEW TECH: makes talking about OLD TECH rather irrelevant?
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:49 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:45 am
Landrew: I agree which is why I went with NEW tech and mentioned heat conversion….not light waves. There is also piezo-electrical for smaller uses. It would be great if most of the energy falling on and traveling over the roadways could be HARVESTED/COLLECTED.....even at inefficient rates, the net production could be worthwhile. I don't "know" this or even think it...……..just something to INVESTIGATE and keep in mind.

NEW TECH: makes talking about OLD TECH rather irrelevant?
It currently costs how many $Millions per mile to build a conventional roadway? You can't even come within a light-year of sustainability that way.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:23 am

How is that relevant? We are talking about the space/location of the roads. You don't build a road to put in solar, you put in solar where you have a road. See the difference?
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:10 am

landrew wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:13 am
Gord wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:02 am
landrew wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:32 pm
Gord wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:08 am
It doesn't solve the problem of transporting the power from the road to the area where it's going to serve a function. You get the same problem if you put solar panels on a border wall between Mexico and the US -- the generation location is inefficient.
Based on available information, there would be no surplus power to send elsewhere. There's not enough power to run the embedded features as it is.
I missed something here. What embedded features are there in solar panels?
They talk about it in the promotional video. Embedded lights, sensors, heating panels and such in the roadbed. Of course, if the panels aren't in the roadbed, they are separate from those things.
Oh, solar roadways! Sorry, I thought we were talking about putting roofs over top of the highways, then adding solar panels to the roofs. I kind of just assumed you wouldn't be ripping up the old highways to install new, more complicated, more, expensive, and more breakable roads to do that.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:08 pm

Gord wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:10 am
landrew wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:13 am
Gord wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:02 am
landrew wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:32 pm
Gord wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:08 am
It doesn't solve the problem of transporting the power from the road to the area where it's going to serve a function. You get the same problem if you put solar panels on a border wall between Mexico and the US -- the generation location is inefficient.
Based on available information, there would be no surplus power to send elsewhere. There's not enough power to run the embedded features as it is.
I missed something here. What embedded features are there in solar panels?
They talk about it in the promotional video. Embedded lights, sensors, heating panels and such in the roadbed. Of course, if the panels aren't in the roadbed, they are separate from those things.
Oh, solar roadways! Sorry, I thought we were talking about putting roofs over top of the highways, then adding solar panels to the roofs. I kind of just assumed you wouldn't be ripping up the old highways to install new, more complicated, more, expensive, and more breakable roads to do that.
I'm talking about how absurd it is to embed solar panels in a road surface, by offering a far more practical and less expensive alternative, which of course is still too expensive to consider.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:12 am

Yeah, it's absurd to embed pretty much any of that breakable stuff into a road surface, including lights, sensors, and heating panels.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by landrew » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:39 pm

Gord wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:12 am
Yeah, it's absurd to embed pretty much any of that breakable stuff into a road surface, including lights, sensors, and heating panels.
This should be in the frauds forum. Millions have been wasted on this foolishness already.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:21 am

landrew wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:39 pm
Gord wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:12 am
Yeah, it's absurd to embed pretty much any of that breakable stuff into a road surface, including lights, sensors, and heating panels.
This should be in the frauds forum. Millions have been wasted on this foolishness already.
And yet: its already working: https://www.bing.com/search?q=roads+sol ... m11qdcedZb
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Gord
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by Gord » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:38 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:21 am
landrew wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:39 pm
Gord wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:12 am
Yeah, it's absurd to embed pretty much any of that breakable stuff into a road surface, including lights, sensors, and heating panels.
This should be in the frauds forum. Millions have been wasted on this foolishness already.
And yet: its already working: https://www.bing.com/search?q=roads+sol ... m11qdcedZb
Sure, as a scam.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:14 am

Whats the scam?

Compare: the billions spent to keep Fossil Fuels in a monopoly position. You know: wars and such?
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by ElectricMonk » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:09 am

Roads have to be fixed so often that having to replace something as delicate and expensive as solar panels, too, would make no economic sense whatsoever - never mind the extra delay of construction work causing millions in lost time for workers and extra fuel consumption for traffic jams.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:48 pm

Jeebus you guys are stuck on stinkin thinkin. THE WHOLE POINT re progress in general and in using the roadways as energy sources is to DEVELOP the tech/materials/science necessary to make them cost effective: including maintenance and repair.

I'm not scientist or tech guy....but what I can easily imagine AGAIN: is not photo-voltaics but rather HEAT or pressure generators. Still knowining nothing.....seems to me some kind of "grid" or "fabric" could be laid down on the roadway and then covered with asphalt...or better yet some kind of product made by capturing co2 from the air. SO==it could be beneficial used to sequester carbon, resurface highways, and generate co2 free energy.

Just one of dozens of approaches that need to be studied.....rank order the solutions, and choose what we can afford...…...or can't afford not to.

Its how science works. Imagine 1910: Arguing cars can't be used for transportation because there isn't enough gas...…………..is just kinda stupid.
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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by ElectricMonk » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:58 pm

Look, there is no need to use road surfaces for solar. Much more efficient would be solar "sunflowers" that track the progress of the sun during the day for optimal light absorption: this way, you get many times the photons of any stationary surface.
In particular, we need more solar in the morning and evening, whereas a solar road would imbalance the grid with peak production at noon.

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Re: Solar Roadways Again???

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:52 pm

Sorry EM: you are stuck on photovoltaics. Those aren't the only solar powered energy harvesting technologies. Direct conversion of solar to electric will be the most efficient but is only one element in a total cost evaluation. Again (x4): NEW TECHNOLOGY......its what we can't do now.....like every other advance.
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