Solar panel basics

Solar panel roadways are lit

Energy conservation can seem like a boring subject that has more problems than solutions. Solar technology, however, shows wild and futuristic possibilities for producing clean energy. Engineers, conservationists and everyday people are hyped about solar power developments. Solar technology has helped shape an environmentally future. New technological advancements solidify solar’s position as a leader in clean electricity production and expand potential applications for this energy source. Solar panel roadways are generating a lot of buzz as people realize the exciting possibilities for this invention.

Technological advancements

Solar panel technology has rapidly improved as inventors and engineers continue to explore new applications. One of the latest uses for this clean energy resource is in roadway and sidewalk construction. A company called Solar Roadways is pioneering the development of solar panel surfaces that collect solar energy and update the dated US transportation infrastructure. This technology has the potential to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and modernize the way drivers navigate roadways.

Solar panel surfaces

Solar panel surfaces are manufactured with specially designed tempered glass that’s able to support the weight of large vehicles and heavy trucks. The glass is engineered to provide traction similar to asphalt, so it’s safe for walking, driving and regular use. Roads covered in solar panels would generate a tremendous amount of electricity without damaging the environment. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our cities and could lower energy costs. The electricity produced would offset the installation costs. If environmentally friendly roads aren’t enough to get you interested, Solar Roadways has revamped their panels to include additional benefits.

Solar panels generate clean energy, but Solar Roadways panels are also constructed with recycled materials. Inventors included a way to heat the solar panels. This helps prevent snow and ice accumulation, making roads safer for you and your family. Solar panel roadways are engineered with pressure sensors to detect road obstructions and LED lights, both revolutionary concepts in the transportation industry.

Solar roads are lit   

LED lights are built into solar panel roads, eliminating the need for painted lines and replacing traditional road signs. Illuminated roadways would reduce maintenance related to road upkeep from painted lines. The lights would also be more noticeable than conventional road markings in low visibility conditions. The lights automatically adjust their brightness depending on the time of day. Solar panel roadways with LED lights have application possibilities for highways, sidewalks, parking lots, airports, crosswalks and many other surfaces. They could also work to reduce light pollution by replacing standard streetlights.

Smart roads with responsive lighting have great potential to revolutionize highway transportation. Drivers could see alerts for upcoming road conditions, car accidents or roadway obstructions in real time. Traffic control managers could reroute cars using LED solar panel road signs to mark detours. Markings would be more responsive and effectively reduce driver confusion. Crosswalks would become more reactive to pedestrians in the road. This is especially important around schools and playgrounds where children play. The pressure sensors built into each panel would alert drivers to animals in the road. Possibilities continue to grow for roads with LED lights and solar panel surfaces.

Real life installation

Solar Roadways is still in the development stages as a company, but their clean energy road panels show tremendous potential. The US Department of Transportation and investors worldwide support this solar technology. In 2016, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced plans to install Solar Roadways along sections of the historic highway Route 66. If this installation is successful, it will pave the way for solar panel roadways across the country.

Advancements in solar panel technology are giving engineers, conservationists and everyday people a reason to get excited. Futuristic dreams have become reality, providing clean solar electricity and endless possibilities. Solar power is a proven environmentally friendly resource that continues to develop new applications. Solar Roadways are just one example of how modern technology is reducing our carbon footprint and changing the environmental landscape.