America’s most famous road is about to get the country’s first live solar road panels.
The U.S. state of Missouri hopes to have the solar road panels in place before the end of this year.
Durable electricity-generating panels from innovative solar technology company Solar Roadways are due to be installed at the Historic Route 66 Welcome Centre at Conway, MO.
“If their version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves,”
said Tom Blair, leader of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Road to Tomorrow Initiative.
Solar Roadways is a modular system of specially engineered solar panels that can be walked and driven on. The company’s panels contain LED lights to create lines and roadway signage will negate the use of any paint. The panels have heating elements to prevent accumulation of snow and ice. The panels' microprocessors allow them to communicate with each other, the central control station and vehicles. The panels are made of specifically formulated tempered glass, which can support the weight of semi-trailers.
The company hopes to be able to charge electric vehicles with clean energy from the sun, initially in solar parking lots and eventually once scale is reached whilst vehicles are driving.
Image, Solar Roadways[/caption]They have claimed that paving all of America’s roads and parking lots with the panels would generate 13,385 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, more than three times the amount the whole country consumed in 2009.
Main image copyright: pancaketom / 123RF Stock Photo