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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Automotiverenewable energy

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 Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?