Don’t get too close to the light?

Speaking of projects that don’t happen soon enough (if at all!), I recall an article that was shared with me years ago on solar panel roads. It’s been on my mind for some time.

This article tells the story of Scott and Julie Brusaw who founded Solar Roadways in 2006 with a vision to replace every surface currently covered in pavement with solar panels.

Ten years later, in October 2016, the first public testing of solar panel roads emerges at a city square in Idaho, the state where Solar Roadways is based. A few months later in December 2016, the first solar panel road appears in Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. It’s just 1 kilometer, but hey, it’s a start.

Solar Roadways has some really neat food for thought stats on their site to which I want to draw attention. They say:

“We have 49302.92 square miles of impervious surfaces… Removing 1/3 for rooftops and that leaves 32,868.61 square miles of roads, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, sidewalks, etc., to work with.”

If they replaced all this surface area with solar panel, how much electricity could it produce? Numerous calculations later, the grand total comes to 14,085 Billion Kilowatt-hours.

In 2009, they cite the usage of electricity in the United States at 3,741 Billion Kilowatt-hours of electricity, so the amount of electricity that would be produced is over three times what is used in 2009.

There are so many applications for solar roadways:

1. Numerous safety-features
2. LED lights on the panels to change road colors, add signs, match events etc.
3. Traffic management
4. Melt snow and Ice
5. Replace other sources of electricity that produce green-house gas emissions
6.  Charge electric-cars
7. And an infinite more applications…

Technology like this that can change the way we live is out there. I want to find it, talk about it, and encourage action and awareness so we can get things rolling.

While covering all our roads and rooftops with solar panels at the end the day isn’t a very realistic to do option, I do believe we should become a lot more proactive when it comes to alternative energy sources.

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