Solar Roadways, is it doable?
The solar roads are designed with benefits over traditional concrete and asphalt, such as in-built LEDs for safety, pot-hole free (that one’s a big plus!), easy maintenance, protects wildlife and of course due to the generated electricity, a return on investment.
The Big Question
What is this going to cost?! If we assume these roadways will be implemented in rural locations to maximise sunlight, the average 2 lane rural roadway in the US costs in the region of $400,000 per mile to resurface. The Average solar installation costs $6 per watt and at about 10 watts per square foot. If we assume that solar roadways will cost the same as a home installation (In reality I’d think probably more, these solar panels are made to be driven on after all...) and you do the math that’s a whopping $6 million per mile of solar roadway! There are 4 million miles of roads in the US… that’s a lot of cash, but you can’t think about this project in terms of initial outlay.
The Best Stuff
It’s definitely not all bad news though, the possibilities for solar roadways are pretty much endless in environmental terms, the initial financial outlay is a small mountain to climb but the panels feature water collection, LED lighting and of course energy generation. Compared to asphalt, the Carbon heavy, energy rich standard in road building, it’s easy to see which is better for the environment in the long run.