According to their Indigogo page, a company called Solar Roadways want to cover every highway in the U.S. in thick LED-lit glass solar panels. There are around 30,000 square kilometres of roads in the U.S., so if their plan is successful, the energy-generating potential is huge – in fact, is every paved surface was covered with their solar panels, they would produce more energy than the U.S. consumes. Solar Roadways’ hexagonal solar panels can generate enough power to light the road, melt ice and snow, and send leftover energy to cities.
The was first presented in 2010, but now the founders Scott and Julie Brusaw have actually set up a working prototype in a parking lot outside their lab in Idaho. And it works The tempered glass panels not only generate energy sustainable, they also offer a superior road surface to traditional materials – they’re around 1.5cm thick and withstand fully-loaded tricks and even 113,000kg trucks driving over them. And although they’re glass, the surface isn’t slippery and won’t ever get iced-over as it’s self-heating. It will also be able to show road markings and send up-to-date traffic messages to drivers through the inbuilt LED lights, and won’t ever get potholes.
Even cooler, if rest stops or parking lots were paved with the solar panels, they could offer charging stations for electric cars. In the future, the Brusaw’s think electric car users might even be able to charge the cars directly through the road as they drive – which means they’ll never have to stop. Via Solar roads that could power the entire U.S. are on the horizon