We’ve been noticing a shift in the thinking around our energy infrastructure, as developers seek solutions to the ways that we harness power and utilize our resources. If we look at existing connected environments in the US, few networks rival our nation’s roadways in terms of pervasiveness and scale.
Building on the highway model, Idaho-based Solar Roadways proposed just that, a series of structurally-engineered solar panels that can be driven on, replacing all current asphalt roads, including driveways and parking lots. The panels would collect and store solar energy to be used for our homes and businesses.
The project is ambitious and expensive but it could revolutionize the way we create energy. The implications of a grid that can be powered by the sun are huge. It would mean an end to fossil fuel dependency, a reduction in greenhouse gases, an intelligent road system that can easily provide access to replenish the energy of electric cars. In addition, the grid will have an embedded heating element preventing the accumulation of snow or ice but most importantly creating safer roadways.
US Department of Transportation has already recognized the huge potential this project could have and has awarded Solar Roadways $100,000. The company estimates that it will take about five billion 12′ x 12′ panels to cover the asphalt surfaces of the United States allowing the country to produce three times more power that the U.S. has ever used as a nation.