Solar Roadways have been getting a lot of attention lately after securing nearly $2 million in funding on Indiegogo – but some detractors are decrying the innovation, saying that the idea just won’t work. The inventors of Solar Roadways say the project has the potential to free the US from dirty energy, save lives with intelligent signage and make roads safer with heating. But critics say that output issues, noisy roads and a simple lack of need mean that Solar Roadways just won’t fly.
The idea behind Solar Roadways is: We already use a massive portion of land for roadways; why not double task and make our roads generate energy? But according to the magazine Renewables International, a small amount of shade on a solar panel reduces the efficiency of the entire string. Because roads will usually be shaded by cars, trees and surrounding buildings, the output will be compromised.
The magazine also points out that roads are meant to be noisy or quiet depending on the speed of driving that is intended, but Solar Roadways by design are always going to be noisy. Perhaps the most unconvincing argument they make is that we already have the ability to install all of the solar we could possibly need, so there is no need for innovation: “[O]nce again we have entrepreneurs telling the public and politicians not to start building what we have, but to wait for some future breakthrough,” says Craig Morris, author of the article.
No doubt there will be unexpected issues with Solar Roadways and certainly they won’t be perfect for every road, but we think the possibilities for the idea extend beyond generating more green power. What do you think? Are Solar Roadways paving the way for a greener future or a flight or just another Solyndra poised to fail?
Images via Solar Roadways