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Old 05-25-2014, 10:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Solar roadways (goofy video)

Since May 18, this video has received nearly 4 million hits. Not technical at all. Boosterism trying to be hip but with some good suggestive graphics and actual shots of the units that would be deployed:

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Old 05-26-2014, 01:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I found an article that had listed the current cost at $7000 per panel. That should come way down once its past the prototype stage.

Its a cool idea, but I doubt it will be anywhere near cost effective anytime soon.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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$7000 a panel means they are going in the wrong direction with their designs. They need to be cost effective in design completely not a after thought to hash out later IMO its a money making scam, small business owners or not.
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It would probably be more efficient to just have lighted panels in the road and use the solar panels to shade parking lots (instead of cars shading the panels as they drive over them).
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vskid3 View Post
(instead of cars shading the panels as they drive over them).
Damn good point when you think about Southern Cali traffic.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It must be fate. I accidentally bumped into their indiegogo page, which has, BTW, raised nearly $1.4 million. The video is almost as breathless in its outlook as the OP, though more sober in its style: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways

Six people donated $10,000 each.

And here is US Senator Crapo's endorsement: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/s...adways#gallery
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Concept looks interesting but I can already see some problems.

The number one being the coefficient of friction. How does it compare to asphalt and concrete?

Second are single tracked vehicles. For those that don't ride motorcycles it might be hard to understand but a surface like that could create harmonics and be a hazard for the rider. Everything from tank slappers (technical term here), parts more likely to vibrate off, reduced stopping performance etc.

Another less obvious one is wear. Even electric vehicles get covered in a dirty mess under the car. This comes from brake dust, oil and other spilled fluids which could have potential to short out the panels, tire dust and skid marks etc. How do these things stay clean and safe?

I would also be interest to know how the panels would hold up under a fully loaded trailer braking at full force. Would they lift out, damage the frame, shatter, etc?

And I wonder what the real energy cost is of these panels over their life time and if they can 'repay' for their cost and hidden costs outside the panel itself like installation and infrastructure costs. Solar panels are not pollution free in production and I would venture to say their "glass" panels are not either.

Lots of research would need to be done for this to go through and I hope they figure out. Any other engineer minded people see issues with this or am I just making everyone upset with me?
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Would we have a Utopian society of panel re-placers if this dream makes it..
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Burton, all good points. Other questions are: solar orientation is far less than ideal, because of shadows from trees, vehicles, dirt, etc. and sloped roads in the "wrong" direction.

Snow plows, and sanders.

Structural supports - this is essentially a grade level building.

Cabling underground, and interactions with water, and freezing, etc.

Scuffing and lowered efficiency.

All of these would be address simply by building long conventional PV installations along limited access highways; in the median strip and/or along the edges. Like this:

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Old 05-27-2014, 02:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Concept looks interesting but I can already see some problems.

The number one being the coefficient of friction. How does it compare to asphalt and concrete?

Second are single tracked vehicles. For those that don't ride motorcycles it might be hard to understand but a surface like that could create harmonics and be a hazard for the rider. Everything from tank slappers (technical term here), parts more likely to vibrate off, reduced stopping performance etc.

Another less obvious one is wear. Even electric vehicles get covered in a dirty mess under the car. This comes from brake dust, oil and other spilled fluids which could have potential to short out the panels, tire dust and skid marks etc. How do these things stay clean and safe?

I would also be interest to know how the panels would hold up under a fully loaded trailer braking at full force. Would they lift out, damage the frame, shatter, etc?

And I wonder what the real energy cost is of these panels over their life time and if they can 'repay' for their cost and hidden costs outside the panel itself like installation and infrastructure costs. Solar panels are not pollution free in production and I would venture to say their "glass" panels are not either.

Lots of research would need to be done for this to go through and I hope they figure out. Any other engineer minded people see issues with this or am I just making everyone upset with me?
You're not the only one.

At first blush it sounds good, but it's always good to be skeptical. Especially when lots of time is put into a flashy video and not much on the details.

So... the solar panel will absorb sunlight (and they typically run at 15-20% efficiency) in short winter days and use that to power: LED lights to direct traffic, heaters to keep snow off, and power the city?

That does NOT pass the sniff test.

These might be feasible in sunny, warm climes but even there I have a hard time seeing the cost being justified.

And how long would they last with heavy traffic?

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