There has been a lot of news recently about transport powered by solar energy. From the race between cars powered by solar panels which is to be held in Australia in October, to Ford making electric cars which can be powered with solar panels on the roof of your house. And not to forget the solar boat that could pave the way for solar-powered merchant shipping in the future.
More innovative and exciting than any of those innovations, however, is the recent announcement of solar roads being in development. In fact, they are in the second stage of testing now.
The idea is that the roads themselves are going to be able to generate solar energy. There is a very obvious problem with that of course; if you simply took the solar panels off your roof and drove across them then they would break. It’s necessary that the solar panels for the road be made of glass though because it has to be transparent so that the light can get through to the silicon underneath which generates the solar power (unfortunately we don’t have transparent aluminium yet!).
However they have already solved this problem, they have a type of glass which is not only strong enough but gives the same traction as asphalt does now. After all it would be just as problematic if cars were sliding all over the place. There is also a plan to use rubbish from landfill sites in order to provide an internal support system.
So far the company, Solar Roadways, have a prototype that is 12ft x 12ft and has 6000 LEDs embedded in it. This will allow for road markings to be placed on the road. The prototype has been tested and creates 7.6 kWh per day. If this were expanded to all roads of course, that would be an awful lot of solar energy being produced.
What To Do With The Solar Energy From Roads?
What could be done with all of this solar power though? Well first of all there are the basic things that road maintenance requires. For example, it could power heaters which could melt snow when it falls on it.
It doesn’t have to just be just connected to things to do with the roads though, if installed on private property then it could go towards powering a house or business. If it’s a public road it could go straight on to the National Grid.
It’s even possible that it could be used to power electric cars. In fact soon there is going to be a test for racing cars whereby electricity is transmitted to the cars wirelessly, which means they will not have to stop. Theoretically the same sort of thing could be done on all roads, and the power could come from the solar panels in the roads themselves.
Solar Energy UK
All of this is still a long way off of course, at the moment the best way that you can get involved with solar energy is by getting solar panels for your home. For more information and to get a free quote, get in touch with Solar Energy UK today.