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Solar Roadways to Prototype First Ever Solar Road Panel
Posted By Ariel Schwartz On August 27, 2009 @ 11:54 am In Green Transportation,Solar Power | 12 Comments
Ever drive on the highway and think about how much solar energy  is wasted on the asphalt below? Apparently, so has Solar Roadways . The startup was awarded a $100,000 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grant this week to prototype its Solar Road Panel–an energy-generating panel made from solar cells and glass that is meant to replace petroleum-based asphalt on roads and in parking lots.
Once a prototype is complete, Solar Roadways still has a long ways to go before its technology is commercialized. But if and when it is, Brusaw estimates that covering the entire U.S. interstate highway system with his 12′ by 12′ panels could fulfill the country’s energy  needs (based on each panel producing 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day).
It’s an expensive plan–each panel costs approximately $6,900–but a single four-lane, one-mile road plastered with Solar Road Panels could provide enough power to take 500 homes off-grid. And potentially, the panels could even create an “intelligent highway that will double as a secure, intelligent, decentralized, self-healing power grid which will enable a gradual weaning from fossil fuels.” A lofty goal, to be sure, but one that is worth keeping in mind–especially now that the government has given Solar Roadways the go-ahead.
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