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We're a little crazy, about science!

Solar Freakin’ Roadways!

Artist's rendition of downtown Sandpoint, Idaho - Home of Solar Roadways Graphic design by Sam Cornett

Artist’s rendition of downtown Sandpoint, Idaho – Home of Solar Roadways
Graphic design by Sam Cornett

America loves it’s oil. Screw renewables, right? Because let’s face it, the world can be cleaned by someone else. As easily upset pretentious apes, us humans have few comforts in the changing world like fossil fuels. Our old friends coal, gas, and oil, they would never hurt us; they kick started the industrial revolution!

Let’s face it folks, global warming isn’t coming… it’s already here. We have study after study showing the effects. It’s time to ditch the medieval technology and move toward the future. Solar has been a good option, wind being another good choice. Both have drawbacks of course, no one likes wind farms and the solar farms don’t fare too much better.

Of course America is falling apart as it stands, a good chunk of the roads and bridges we use today were first built during World War 2, nothing should live that long, certainly not bridges.

Luckily there is a solution [see how I did that?]. What if you could repair the roads and harvest totally renewable solar energy?

It’s not a trick question, it’s solar freakin’ roads! Imagine a future where snow would be melted off the road on it’s own. A future where the roads are lit with LED’s to help driver visibility in poorly lit areas. One where all the energy we use and more comes from the road underneath our car. Not only that, but roads are easily repaired using modular technology, no more shutting down roads for days at a time.

20140515180039-Interstate_at_Dusk

Why imagine! Solar Roadways is a very real thing and they need your help, it’s obvious that it is a tall order to replace all our roads with solar roads. It’s not going to be easy to kick that oil habit, but we need to do it and they need you to donate.

Typically I don’t ask for people to donate to causes, there has been exactly one other time that I even suggested donating to a good cause. This isn’t just a good cause, this isn’t even just the future, we need this.

Think about the amount of jobs a project like this would create, local jobs, not those jobs that get sent overseas. Think about how safe our roadways could be without having to worrying about things like snow or poor road markings. Think about the environment and all the greenhouse gasses that could be stopped by switching over to solar.

Talk is cheap, how much energy would be made by replacing all our roads with these solar roads– in the worst case scenario only about 3 times the amount of energy. No that wasn’t a typo, if this actually happens, we could provide 3 times the amount of energy [on a bad day] than the entire United States of America uses.

This wasn’t calculated with some exotic technology, this is using the technology we have today, not tomorrow. So when we somehow manage to exceed our energy needs [by 3 times the amount we use now, I just love saying that] the modular road could be easily replaced with new technology for far cheaper than current road replacement costs.

My head’s still spinning with the implications of this sort of improvement, it would be the first major upgrade to our infrastructure since World War 2. You wouldn’t want to fly on a plane that is from world war 2 every day, why would you want to use bridges and roadways that are that old?

So what reason do you need for this? Help the environment, check; save the economy, check; lower energy costs, check; badass super futuristic looking technology, check. Come on you know you want it.

Please, please, please, even if it is just change donate what you can to the cause, I am. You can find the indiegogo donation page here.

Blah, blah, blah, more of a video person? Check this out:

Sources:
Trenberth K.E., Dai A., van der Schrier G., Jones P.D., Barichivich J., Briffa K.R. & Sheffield J. (2013). Global warming and changes in drought, Nature Climate Change, 4 (1) 17-22. DOI:

Mohanty U.C., Mohapatra M., Singh O.P., Bandyopadhyay B.K., Rathore L.S., Sugi M., Murakami H. & Yoshimura J. (2014). Mechanism of the Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Frequency Changes due to Global Warming, 40-49. DOI:

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19 responses

  1. tomar

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to return yet again since i have
    book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    May 23, 2014 at 4:00 am

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  3. The most impressive thing about Solar Roadways is their marketing team. I can’t believe how many otherwise intelligent people are falling for this. Since when is there a problem finding space for solar panels? There isn’t. It is an arbitrary constraint. And roads are the harshest possible environment I can imagine. Plus the decentralization would make servicing them even more expensive as compared to centralized sites, or even rooftops.

    Solar energy is good and we need it. But putting it under roads is nonsensical.

    May 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    • There is a problem with finding usable space for solar panels, that is the central issue as to why they are not more used. Think about it, between roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, where would you find that much space to lay solar panels down? You can’t, the fact is no one wants them around where they live, which is the same problem with wind farms.

      Decentralization would make them cheaper. It’s a free market, you want to have locally produced power and roads, a road making electricity would pay for itself. The road now just sits there, like a money pit, it makes sense to have the road doing something other than providing a surface to drive on.

      Decentralization would also insure that we have a steady supply of power, again a good thing, it also means that the modular units could be made locally, possibly by the same people who would typically be servicing the roads. Making more jobs and lowering costs all around.

      Yes, roads are harsh environments, but the technology has been tested. It meets or exceeds the standards for road wear. This means it will last just as long or longer under road conditions. The modular units can be individually replaced, making road upkeep faster, thus saving money [paying people to do roadwork is not cheap] and headaches from shutting down the road.

      Your concerns, while valid have already been thought through and worked out. What I can’t believe is how many people act like they aren’t pointing out obvious things that would have to be worked out before a product could become viable.

      May 24, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      • Juho

        I have also been really surprised how many people hate the idea. Of course for instance the cost is still one factor that remains to be seen, but I think this is simply too huge a deal not to at least TRY to create. And even these things turn out to be too expensive now, they might not be in the future.
        And pretty much all the other arguments that people keep repeating have been answered in their FAQ (http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml).
        Just calm down and let’s try this. Let’s do some tests and so forth. Why the heck not?

        May 26, 2014 at 3:31 am

      • I agree the initial cost will be high, but it will pay for itself over the next few years ideally. I also like the idea of upgrading the technology as it progresses, something our road now knows nothing about.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

      • This.
        They’ve been through a round of federal highway testing. They’ve done the feasibility studies, and created real, working prototype panels on a small parking lot. The surface has been tested. This indiegogo is to build a manufacturing facility, so they can start to ramp up economy of scale and start mass production.
        The real key is that because this is crowd funded, they don’t have to seek support of corporations that may seek to bury the technology.

        May 26, 2014 at 8:10 am

      • I don’t think a corporation would bury the technology, if anything it would get exported overseas to be manufactured cheaper. I am really happy with how they are going about doing this, the US really needs a manufacturing sector to rival the past manufacturing we’ve done. We want jobs, we want a better future, this would be perfect for both of those things.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:45 am

    • Callan Murray

      Actually you could not be more wrong. There is a problem finding space for solar panels, this is not a couple pannels on top of a house but a means for actually generating electricity in abundance on a large scale.
      The types of solar pannels out now are extremely inefficient in terms of the energy they take In compared to the actual energy that the sun is beating down on them. The fix for this? Massive massive solar arrays with millions of pannels. Much more in Europe then in the US but these are extremely expensive, and the only way there worth while is if you have such a large amount concentrated in an area. With an ever growing world the amount of space to put these huge arrays in the united states is not there. The amount of money work and space needed makes it a last resort option.
      Also like the other user commented, they exceed ALL normal road way specification, EXCEED. This means they hold up better and they have actual channels for water and snow runoff, which is a major cause of pollution AND destroying roadways by eroding asphalt and concrete. This idea would also make repairing roads more easy. Yes you would not have a centralized facility. But now instead of your towns Public Works department, if one gets damaged a single “tile” can ‘ve replaced in minutes rather then using the old “patch and pray” method, along with out having the redirect traffic for long period of time to fix a road.
      You have valid points but they do not hold up, these also are actually far cheaper then normal solar pannels and use recycled materials. While solar pannels including these, have a long way to go in terms of efficiency and actually putting them to use, the solar roadways are hands down the best application of solar power that I know of. This about it! Instead of having to tear down that forest to put a massive solar pannels array up, you can drive on solar pannels, on the old roads we once used taking up space. You can now drive to that forest, take a walk through it smell the clean air and remember that we did something right for the world!

      May 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

      • Great comment, thanks for the support.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:45 am

  4. Pingback: Solar Freakin’ Roadways! | The WordPress C(h)ronicle

  5. Jill

    another great application to start small… is school courtyard/multi use sport courts that can encourage kids to be environmental but have a blast changing the court from basketball to badminton etc. School s are so underfunded that this could help with operating costs or eventually selling energy back out… Exciting!

    May 26, 2014 at 8:47 am

    • That would be a brilliant, schools being able to make money for education, that is exciting!

      May 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

  6. chadlupkes

    It’s not about whether there is a problem finding places for solar panels. The question is, why would we waste any potential square footage that could be used to collect solar energy? An intelligent civilization wouldn’t waste any potential space. Yes, put solar panels on rooftops. Now. Yesterday. To hell with the cost, do it now. AND let’s replace our roads with something from Tron or Star Trek. Now. Yesterday. To hell with the cost, do it now!

    May 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

    • Haha I love it. I agree, we live in a world where our phone should be able to do just about anything we want it to do, why shouldn’t the roads multi task too.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

      • Kevin

        Electric Car. How about an electric car that charges continuously while moving along the solar “freakin'” roadway? Never having to “plugin” at night into a fossil fuel generating plant.

        May 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      • I was thinking the same thing. Imagine not ever needing a large battery for an electric car? Maybe just a small one in case of emergency. I mean when would you drive off a road in a car? No more battery, no more need for things that are hard to recycle or hard on the environment. Think about the added weight savings too!!

        May 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

  7. hartek

    Not for at least 30 years. This thing is very far right now.

    May 15, 2015 at 4:45 am

    • Eh it has to start sometime, but yes this is a very long term sort of solution. On the plus side, the announcement of Tesla motors power wall will aid in the transition to a decentralized power structure that this would provide.

      May 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

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