Tron-Style Solar Panel Roadways to Fix Everything

September 8, 2009

Are solar panels the key to our power-hungry future? The Department of Energy appears to think so, as they've just awarded upstart Solar Roadways $100,000 to develop a new breed of road surface, dubbed "Solar Roads," whose ambitious goal is to power both the road markers and the vehicles on it.

At a cost of $7,000 per 12 x 12 foot panel, the Solar Roads do not come cheap. But for the money, Solar Roadways is promising a lot: an end to dependency on foreign oil.

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Each solar panel is designed to absorb enough solar energy to power not only the LED lane markers and lights embedded within it, but also to function as a way to recharge electric vehicles on the road and those at rest in parking lots.

Solar Roadways claims each panel can 7.6 kwh of power per day - enough to actually start putting power back into the grid - and by their estimate, a mile-long stretch of the material would be enough to power over 500 homes per day.

They also claim that if all of America's roadways utilized the technology, we'd have a surplus of three times as much energy as we use as a nation or, "nearly enough to power the entire world."

But there's one slight catch: it may be a while off from full adoption, as they've yet to yield a working prototype. We're getting our hopes up just the same.

Source: Inhabitat

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