Back in 2010, a new startup called Solar Roadways launched a concept for paving roads using solar technologies and specially designed solar panels. The company’s design concept was recorded, and the video went viral. Fast forward six years later, and, after several CAD drawing conversions and changes to the original design concept, the first roadways in Sandpoint, Idaho are being paved with these solar paving panels.
Incorporating solar panels into roads is going to change how infrastructure is designed. No longer will designers be limited to traditional asphalt and concrete roads, but now have the option to design the roads using the new solar paving panels. There are several advantages of this new technology, too.
First, in colder areas where ice and snow can make roads dangerous, the panels can be designed to heat the roads and dry away moisture. This means communities no longer have to rely upon using salt or sand on the roads. However, for extreme snow falls, snow removal is still going to be necessary to uncover the panel and allow it to receiving sunlight to function.
Next, the panels are part of a durable system of panels linked together with an anticipated lifespan between twenty to thirty years. As such, in the event a section of panels becomes damaged, rather than having to replace the entire section of road, only the damaged panels have to be replaced. This translates to lower costs of road repair and maintenance.
The solar paving panels also help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reduces our carbon footprints. Traditional roads often use some form of petroleum-based products in their design. Every time the road needs to be repaved, it results in more of these fuels being used up, not to mention old roads tend to be difficult to recycle and reuse.
With the solar panels, many of the components are recyclable: The top of the panels are made from high-strength glass. As a result, it means broken and damage panels can be reused to make new ones.
In addition, the panels are built with multicolored LED lights. The lights can be used for center lines on the road, to provide important messages, or to direct and reroute traffic. Other potential concepts for the LED lights are to warn of oncoming emergency vehicles, road closures, and accidents.
The solar paving panels are not just for roadways. They may also be used for parking lots, driveways, parking structures, and sidewalks. Further, any excess power collected by the solar paving panels can be transferred to electrical grids and help provide energy for people’s homes and businesses.
Whether you design buildings, roadways, bridges, or other infrastructure, you will want to consider how these new solar paving panels can benefit your design and make your finished product more eco-friendly. For assistance with architectural and infrastructure designs, please feel free to contact Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 and speak with a representative today.