Four Solar Road Designs Unveiled by University of Rhode Island

by , 11/11/10

university of rhode island, solar roadways, solar roads, solar highway, K. Wayne Lee, university of rhode island solar wayne lee

There are 2.7 million miles of public roads in the United States, and in the past we’ve seen several innovative designs that transform these paved surfaces into energy and heat-generating solar roads. One company, Solar Roadways, has even come up with a prototype solar panel for roads, however they are expensive ($7,000 each) and it has been estimated that the cost for transforming the whole country’s roads solar would top $35 trillion. Faced with this is ridiculous cost, the University of Rhode Island has come up with four feasible methods for super-charging our roads with solar power – read on for a look at each!

university of rhode island, solar roadways, solar roads, solar highway, K. Wayne Lee, university of rhode island solar wayne leePhoto © Daniel Lobo

The first method is to gather solar energy from Jersey Barriers, the walls that are often used to separate opposite lanes on narrow roads. The research team from the University believes that if flexible photovoltaic cells were installed along the tops of these barriers, then the energy collected could be used to power street lights and road signs.

“This is a project that could be implemented today because the technology already exists,” said K. Wayne Lee, URI professor of civil and environmental engineering and the leader of the team. “Since the new generation of solar cells are so flexible, they can be installed so that regardless of the angle of the sun, it will be shining on the cells and generating electricity.”

Lead Image © Wolfgang Staudt

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  1. Amazing Brick Machine R... November 15, 2010 at 12:23 am

    […] make great durable roads, but we don’t see them too often. What once was a labor-intensive, back-breaking job has now […]

  2. blah333333 November 14, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Start with rooftops and parking lot covers, then worry about roads. Between those two and residential geothermal heat pumps, we’ll be just about all set.

  3. knickick November 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Nice Four Solar Road Designs. I would like you to read this one. solar power generator . I think it may help more. Leave me a message please. Thanks

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