Author Topic: solar roadways  (Read 36015 times)

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Offline suicidaleggroll

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solar roadways
« on: May 22, 2014, 06:52:03 am »
I haven't seen this on here yet, so let me know if it's a repost.

This is a campaign for modular solar panels for paving roads/parking lots with built in LED lighting and heating elements for snow.  It certainly looks interesting, but I can think of a few potential issues that would need to be addressed.  I do believe the idea is worth exploring, and this seems like a step in the right direction.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 09:04:45 am »
Whilst it's an interesting idea, i can't imagine it makes any financial sense currently in terms of $ per kWHr!

(expensive to make, and install, poor alignment with the sun in most latitudes, likely to get dirty and damaged easily etc)
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 01:26:33 pm »
Instead of waiting for that breakthrough in solar panel manufacturing, efficiency and durability and all that is required for them to work this way. We skip the breakthrough part and go straight into manufacturing with what we have.

Hmm I guess they will address the important things after they get the money. I would say that is a smart choice. :palm:

Does something solar suddenly make people stupid? I remember this one patent some little kid got patent for nature inspired solar panel placement. When plants put their leaves towards the sun to get maximum sun exposure, we can put our solar panels same way towards the sun and get better exposure, rather than pointing them the wrong way.  :palm:
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 01:33:16 pm by Legit-Design »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 01:40:10 pm »
Yeah, looks ok but tempered glass that can stand a small tractor might not be able to deal with an 18 wheeler :)

Also the cost! so they have just standard photo cells hopefully balanced for when a car is over it so that the shading doesn't affect the load. So some logic per module I guess.

Having some LEDs doesn't mean they can draw whatever on the lot either, tons of made up assumptions on that indigogo offer.

Rain and electronics, or water next to the voltage rails?


Also what stops me from just going to the road and picking the module from the ground to take it home, needs some anti theft interlocking adding more cost.

 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 02:18:17 pm »
Rain and electronics, or water next to the voltage rails?


They were planning to embed the leds and solar cells between glass sandwich. Roads can get extremely hot in the summer how would they cool the cells? Overheated solar cells decrease efficiency and is just waste of money since they are expensive anyways. Maybe they would do it the same way they solved every other problem in this project, by just ignoring it.
They got funding from US department of transportation, they built giant smart led panels and called the smart solar road? Looks like they forgot the actual solar panels from their prototype (OOPS!), I guess they didn't meet their funding goal to secure the next round.  But atleast they can spell out any message with their smart road/ led panel.   :-/O
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 03:37:34 pm »
What a terrible idea on so many levels... :palm:

Solar panels on roofs yes. Roads, no.
 

Offline Dago

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 06:18:49 pm »
Crappy idea. It's like they are trying to solve a non-existing problem (as if there's no space for solar panels anywhere else, all roofs are empty etc.).

Poor alignment to sun, they will need a thick glass that will attenuate the light, it will chip, get scratched, get dirty and damaged. And solar panel ROI or payback time is not the best to begin with!

Why combine roads and solar panels to form one crappy compromise (very expensive to make and maintain road that will function as a shitty solar panel) when you could just build roads cheaply and put solar panels on roofs or desert or somewhere else where you could align them better and they would not be subject to such massive mechanical wear.
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Offline electr_peter

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 07:03:04 pm »
Crappy idea. It's like they are trying to solve a non-existing problem (as if there's no space for solar panels anywhere else, all roofs are empty etc.).

Poor alignment to sun, they will need a thick glass that will attenuate the light, it will chip, get scratched, get dirty and damaged. And solar panel ROI or payback time is not the best to begin with!

Why combine roads and solar panels to form one crappy compromise (very expensive to make and maintain road that will function as a shitty solar panel) when you could just build roads cheaply and put solar panels on roofs or desert or somewhere else where you could align them better and they would not be subject to such massive mechanical wear.
Simple logic that dismantles whole idea of solar panels on the road.
Solar panel roads would work only if:
  • solar panels are cheap per meter square for W they produce (currently prices are still high)
  • solar panels would be robust enough to mount as a road surface(glass on the road, is it a joke?)
  • solar panels on road would cost only slightly more than road + separate solar panels.
  • various problems regarding shadows, heating, electrical grid integration, electrical integrity and safety are solved
Idea is to use existing infrastructure (huge area of road surface) as a "free" solar array. Of course, in practice you have to dismiss the fact there is no such infrastructure in the first place (you "just" need to rebuild all the roads for "minimal cost").
 

Offline bookaboo

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 07:05:47 pm »
While this isn't feasible with current solar and material technology why the hell not have research into new types of road surface. More than likely this project will run into several walls, but at least then we know where the walls are. Also, there's a chance that some part of it may become feasible in some way.

Road surfaces are not exactly a perfect issue as it stands, they need constant expensive work and maintenance and the technology is 115 years old.

Hats off to them, though I think its a daft crowdfund project (zero chance of feasible reward for funders) hopefully they find some venture capitalist willing to fire money on a long term long shot and inspire others to look at the problem.


In other words... haters gonna hate  :)
 

Offline corrado33

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2014, 03:53:33 am »
Why not just stick water pipes under the roads and bleed off the heat collected by the roads to produce energy?
 

Offline reubot

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Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2014, 05:16:37 am »
Why not just stick water pipes under the roads and bleed off the heat collected by the roads to produce energy?

Solar panels are way cooler. Normal people don't know anything about solar panels how they work and how you should install them. They just think you stick them on the road and they magically start producing electricity. Normal people don't care either, to them cool solar panels are cool.  8)

Solar roadways are frickin  $1,258,561USD  COOL!

RAISED OF $1,000,000 GOAL
126%  5 days left

 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2014, 05:19:03 am »
Why the Solar Roadways Project on Indiegogo is Actually Really Silly

Nice link. Thanks.

Quote
In essence, solar power is still significantly costlier than most other options if you’re building a power plant. However, you CAN put solar panels in all sorts of places that are otherwise just taking up space. If you own a massive warehouse, you can’t very well build a tiny nuclear plant on its roof (it is, at the very least, extremely inadvisable). You can, however, install solar panels.
And the solar industry is focused on doing just that. China, for instance, has a stated goal of installing 8 gigawatts (that’s a lot) of solar power in the form of distributed generation this year. And the moment big box-store chains like Wal-Mart (WMT), office parks, warehouses, and office buildings can see the necessary results on their balance sheets, there’s going to be solar panels everywhere. This is closer to being a reality than most people realize, the price point is rapidly approaching the area where it makes financial sense.
So, with the millions and millions of acres of unused roof space in areas with heavy year-round sunshine, why solar roads?

Roofs yes. Roads no. :)
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2014, 05:21:54 am »
Ok lets take that solar roadways Wal-Mart they have big parking lots? What if I park my car on top of their solar panels. Their solar panels that costed fortune will be unable to produce electricity because sun is shining at it's strongest during the day when people are parking on the parking lot or driving the roads. How are solar panels so hard to understand for people? Main argument going for them I've seen "they are going to be expensive in the beginning, but what about in the future?" Why don't they have any calculations about that? And they are not even saying that, they are just letting people think that.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 05:24:17 am by Legit-Design »
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2014, 06:05:25 am »
I do have to admire their marketing prowess. Their video is marketing genius. "Solar Freakin Roadways!"

The fact that they've raised over 1.2 million dollars in mostly small donations also, I think, speaks to people's recognition that we need a better power generation paradigm.

Over 9,000  donations of $10 or less with the only perk being a thank you!

Then of course there are the 5 people who paid $10,000 to get:

Quote
7-inch Glass Hexagon
For your donation, we'll send you a 7-inch hexagon containing the same textured surface as our full-sized Solar Road Panels (top and bottom layers). This will be a small working model, including solar cells, LEDs, and a microprocessor. Individually numbered, limited edition.

Wow - solar cells, LEDs and even a microprocessor!   ::)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 06:09:20 am by mtdoc »
 

Offline CanadianAvenger

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2014, 06:33:26 am »
I love how they tout the LED's as allowing for "reconfigurable" road markings, and notifications. Yet they never show how visible these LED's are during the day, which would be fairly important for safety one would think. [Any daytime shots are artists renderings] -- these things are just a solution looking for  problem.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2014, 06:51:42 am »
Then of course there are the 5 people who paid $10,000 to get:

Quote
7-inch Glass Hexagon
For your donation, we'll send you a 7-inch hexagon containing the same textured surface as our full-sized Solar Road Panels (top and bottom layers). This will be a small working model, including solar cells, LEDs, and a microprocessor. Individually numbered, limited edition.

Wow - solar cells, LEDs and even a microprocessor!   ::)

36-watt (assume is watt/hour) per panel currently so how long will it take to pay for itself?
so $10000 / 36 = $278 per Watt/h

Let's take the Pacific non continuous islands at $28.74 per kilowatt. or $0.02874 per watt.

So it will pay itself in 9673 hours (of sunlight that is) let's be optimistic and give them 8 hours a day. We are at 1,209.125 days. So 3 years 4 months without maintenance.

Of course average in the US per kilowatt is $12.26 and maybe they get 4 hours so that will be four times that long average 13 years more or less.

The good thing is that the normal production will be way less than $10K per block, that's just as a limited edition memento, glass plus all those parts should be way less, but you will have to add the infrastructure cost.

But all the money goes to them to complete their contract, right? so it's all donated money.
They also mention that they can make money by other means:

Quote
How can a Solar Roadway pay for itself? How can it generate revenue?

. Through the generation of electricity
. By transporting cleaned stormwater to municipalities or agricultural centers
. By leasing the roadside conduit (Cable Corridor) to entities such as utility companies, telephone, high-speed internet, cable TV, etc
. By selling advertising in parking lots with the configurable LEDs
. By charging people or companies to recharge their electric vehicles
. There's probably several more ways we haven't even thought of!

Also on the stealing:

Quote
These panels must be valuable. What's to keep people from stealing them for home use?

Each panel has its own microprocessor, which communicates wirelessly with the surrounding panels. They monitor each other for malfunctions or problems. Even if someone were able to pull a panel out of the road and load it on a truck, the stolen panel would continue communicating with all of the other panels in the road. The road would know exactly where it was and how fast it was moving, making the criminal a sitting duck for law enforcement.

People will surely try however, and we'll probably be treated to several "World's Dumbest Criminal" episodes before the thieves finally decide it's not worth it!

I guess they don't know how clever people can get, faraday cage and you got your memento (not encouraging anyone to do so). Or off road.

They better put security cameras :)



Edit: Source: their FAQ

http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml

Now let's see what happens.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 06:56:09 am by miguelvp »
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2014, 07:05:22 am »
Also on the stealing:

They better put security cameras :)

With the money spendage they are already looking, no one would notice if each hexagon had small camera in it. If the cameras are streaming all the time no thief could get away... UNLESS they went on a dirt road that has no solar panels on it.   :phew:
 

Offline corrado33

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2014, 04:21:37 am »
It would probably be pretty easy to steal these things, regardless of "wireless sensors". You're making the assumption that those wireless communications would work over a distance of a few feet (road to truck bed) through a few layers of steel when they were originally designed to work only a few inches away. Not to mention they were designed to be stationary. You're making another assumption that the wireless communication will connect to, pair with, then actually transmit and/or receive data while on the move at let's assume 80 MPH because if I stole something I surely wouldn't be going the speed limit, at least for a while.

I think that's a bad assumption. Besides, how would it be getting power? (Assuming you're stealing it at night, or simply flip it upside down during the day?)

Anyway, I think one of the main issues is traction and well... dirt! Adding texture to the glass reduces the amount of sunlight passed through the glass, therefore reduces the efficiency of the solar panel. Also, cars would drag a ton of dirt onto the road, which would further reduce the efficiency. We'd have to hire new people just to clean the roads (with gentle scrubbers as to not scratch the glass.)

And finally, how do you deal with people like this...

« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 04:24:11 am by corrado33 »
 

Offline abaxas

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2014, 05:48:22 am »
It would be easy to see if this is a good idea or not.

Give me a couple of hours with a large hammer.

My betting is that it wouldn't pass the test.



 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2014, 09:13:12 am »
It would be easy to see if this is a good idea or not.
Give me a couple of hours with a large hammer.
My betting is that it wouldn't pass the test.

Tempered glass breaks easiest with sharp object with small area and big impact. If you have seen those emergency window breakers in busses/trains/everywhere you need something similar to that. Maybe weld sharp spike on to that hammer. I think you couldn't break those with normal large hammer, car windows with tempered glass are already surprisingly sturdy, hammer just bounces back.
 

Offline gxti

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2014, 09:46:30 am »
As if this idea needed more problems with it, vandalism is clearly enough to sink it. Anything that can be destroyed will be. Some yahoo who got his license revoked for drunk driving will use Redneck Engineering to destroy as many as possible as revenge.
 

Offline AG6QR

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2014, 09:49:08 am »
Tempered glass breaks easiest with sharp object with small area and big impact.

You sound like you're describing tire chains or perhaps studded snow tires.

 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2014, 08:01:49 am »
This thing has gone viral.

Today I was helping to teach an introductory robotics class at my son's elementary school. At the beginning of the class one of the 4th graders wanted to share something that he was excited about.  You guessed it - SOLAR FREAKIN ROADWAYS! :palm:

He had learned about this in a earlier class. Several other students jumped in explaining what they new about it as well.

You know your campaign is a success when you've got elementary students talking about your indegogo project.

They're now up to 1.6 million dollars raised.

Yeah marketing... ::)
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2014, 04:17:07 pm »
$1,618,816USD
RAISED OF $1,000,000 GOAL
162%  22 days left

22 days left  :wtf:

Few days ago this had few days left. Now they extended it? Why cant this be over and done already.  :palm:
I guess more people need to part with their money before this is over.
I didn't know you could extend indiegogo campaign.

Maybe if they got 2 Billion this would have some chance of producing something useful. Now it's just using current technology and promising all kinds of trendy things. Why do you need wireless communications on something that is going to be wired up and installed permanently. It sounds cool for people but that's it.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 04:18:47 pm by Legit-Design »
 


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