Solar Roadways and Why I Started this Damn Blog

Solar Freakin’ Roadways

So, Sian, Niko and I are back in New York for a few weeks. We got in last night. And Niko being 9 months old, is not terrific at trans-continental drift and naps. Neither am I, for that matter. Anyway, I got to wandering YouTube this morning and re-discovered this video that my friend Chris sent me a while back. It was, in fact, the video that inspired me to start this blog. As much as I’d like to punch the narrator in the face, the content blew my mind. Solar Roadways. The potential is staggering, and the paradigm shift would be radical. Would it re-invent the world? I don’t know. Is is really practical? I don’t know. But it explodes the roadway model so profoundly- and offers such overwhelming promise- that it reminded me, as my friends at Root Simple like to remind me, that we are in fact, very bad at predicting the future. And so, I started this blog to initiate my own process for transforming my relationship to the world, and in the process, do some cool things with my family. Any way, solar roadways? I’m in. Check it out, get your mind blown, and pay no attention to the irritating narrator. Oh, and thanks Chris.

5 thoughts on “Solar Roadways and Why I Started this Damn Blog”

  1. It seems expensive….super expensive to create a network of these roads. We are putting a geothermal heating/cooling system into our new house, which looks so primitive in the hole (they just worked on it yesterday) + the well holes they drilled….and that is $$$. Saving energy, or the planet (which we are possibly too late for) , is not cheap!!!

    1. I wonder about long term vs short. Our solar relies on subsidies for short term, but long term makes universal sense. The cost of oil based energy over time will keep going up, but renewables, over time, hold even.

  2. You ask “Is [it] really practical?” The short answer is, no, it is in no way practical. It is pure fantasy – and not the kind of fantasy that money, science and engineering might someday turn into fact. It is fantasy of the “clicking your heels will take you to Kansas” kind.

    The sun delivers exactly so much energy to every square meter of the Earth. The amount of energy is very small, and gathering it has to be done very efficiently. Even if you developed 100% efficient solar cells that cost nothing to make, you’d still want to put them up on a roof or other high place facing the sun to maximize their performance, because the cost of shipping, wiring, installation, maintenance, overhead, etc. takes real money. (Note that the solar roadway video never brings up costs in any form.)

    Putting any kind of solar cell – even 100% efficient ones – under layers of thick glass, covering them with dirt, snow and grit, then parking on them or driving over them with heavy vehicles at high speeds is the completely wrong way to go. It is like trying to catch a butterfly with a really big sledgehammer.

    True, many feats of modern technology start as “crazy ideas”, and we must be open to new ideas that might help save the world. But most crazy ideas are just that – crazy. And solar roadways are especially crazy, and not in a good way.

    1. Dammit, Roger! Now I guess you’re gonna tell me my “Hover Car” isn’t gonna happen any time soon either. I guess I’ll just have to be happy with the sly genius of incentivizing solar energy by offering leases on panels and systems. Just had Solar City install ours and am (fingers crossed) flipping the switch within 4 weeks.

      Meanwhile, I wonder what those Solar Roadways folks are gonna do with their two million?

  3. Hover Car is a great idea and I’m looking forward to getting mine. However, nobody else can have one because I don’t want the wide open skies filling up with people who can barely handle 2D navigation.

    I look forward to hearing more about your solar panel installation.

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