These solar road panels could turn our world into Tron

Solar Roadways is an Idaho startup that's developed a system of modular solar panels, which they hope will one day power our cities, recharge our cars, and make roads safer.

Solar Roadways believes the road ahead should be paved with solar panels. The Idaho startup makes hexagonal solar panels that it's trying to get installed on U.S. roads. The goal is to generate enough energy to power homes and businesses, and the panels can even light up to display programmable road markings.

It's a lofty idea but the company has gained some early support. Solar Roadways has completed three rounds of testing with the U.S. Department of Transportation and in 2014 it raised over $2 million on Indiegogo. The project has also caught the attention of Missouri's Department of Transportation, which will install the panels, as part of a pilot program, on a sidewalk in front of the Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway.

Tom Blair is an engineer at the Missouri Department of Transportation and leads its Road to Tomorrow initiative. The program aims to generate new revenue for the state's transportation system, which is one reason why Blair says Solar Roadways is appealing.

“At first there will be offsets of electricity at the welcome center. ,,, We’ll get a larger deployment if we see enough energy created, and we would expand the deployment, and over time we would create more energy than we can consume. So the concept is that there would be a revenue stream in that.”

Each panel is also equipped with a heating element, which Blair says could solve a big problem in Missouri.

“Right now, we spend a lot of money in the winter months removing snow and ice from out roadways, so we are really excited if this could actually melt the snow and ice and we wouldn’t have to plow it.”

Contracts between Missouri and Solar Roadways have not been finalized but Blair estimated the sidewalk project will cost around $100,000. He hopes the panels will be installed by the time the snow flies in Missouri.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Automotiverenewable energy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Magdalena Petrova

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?