Author Topic: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway  (Read 15933 times)

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Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #75 on: December 24, 2017, 01:51:16 pm »
You make assumptions about maintenance costs and costs to build structures to put solar panels over a road (not to mention the years it will take to get the permits to build those structures) but I see no numbers to back those assumptions.
Let me get this straight...  You're saying that you believe it will be less costly to design a robust enough panel for in-road use, get that tested and approved, build the panels and install them into the road surface, then maintain them over the long term than it would be to stick them up on poles above the road surface?!   :wtf:

That's insane.   :scared:
I don't know what is cheaper/more expensive. I do know that it will involve more than putting a panel on a pole. First of all any kind of  construction will need to be able to deal with snow and/or strong winds and offer maintenance access to the panels. A few bits of aluminium tubing aren't going to cut it. If you want to use as much surface as possible a structure to support solar panels will become some sort of tunnel (roof over the road) which then may lead to needing to implement all kind of safety features like escape routes, extra lanes, etc. And then there are the endless procedures to get building permits because people will complain about the structures spoiling their view and stretch legal procedures for many years. Also think about the impact when the road needs to be made wider or changed. All in all the costs do add up quickly. Putting the panels on the road surface versus over the road isn't like expensive versus free so I don't want to discard either idea off the bat.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #76 on: December 24, 2017, 01:53:43 pm »
I doubt that because reasonable range and weight just don't work with those battery chemistries. Not to mention wear on the batteries themselves.

Not true.  The cars had acceptable range and the batteries were plenty robust enough.  Cars back then were much lighter and required much less horsepower to move at what was an acceptable speed at the time.  Substituting some battery weight for the heavy internal combustion engine wasn't much of a difference.

Today's vehicles are much heavier overall to begin with (for various reasons) but things evolved under the system it did over the past 100 years.  Who knows how things would have evolved under an alternate system.  To dismiss out of hand, though, that electric cars would not have been viable is quite a stretch.  They were working well enough back then already and were very popular compared to those smelly, noisy gasoline cars, even with their primitive-by-today's-standards battery technology.  Imagine how advanced batteries would be today if they had been the default mode of transportation for the past 100 years.

You can't go back trying to figure how things would be if they were different.  :)
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 04:17:21 pm by drussell »
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #77 on: December 24, 2017, 01:55:19 pm »
@Fungus  :palm: Do you really think trains and trams run on batteries?
Um, no. No I don't.

The point you're trying to dodge was that there were far more electric vehicles on the roads 100 years ago than gasoline ones...
Don't forget it took over a century for electric cars to make some sense!
...and they made perfect sense to everybody.
Until gasoline powered cars proved to have more range and where easier to use despite the foul smell and noise.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #78 on: December 24, 2017, 01:59:39 pm »
I don't know what is cheaper/more expensive.

A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation will tell you that solar in roadways are a non-starter compared to pretty much everything else imaginable.  Certainly much, much worse than solar over roadways.   :palm:

Quote
I do know that it will involve more than putting a panel on a pole. First of all any kind of  construction will need to be able to deal with snow and/or strong winds and offer maintenance access to the panels.
...

You have seen the existing, viable, installed, working systems already in place, haven't you?  The Korean example from long ago in the other thread seems like a sound model to emulate, at least as a starting point for other interested locales.
 

Offline jonovid

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #79 on: December 24, 2017, 02:16:34 pm »
ridiculous  :horse: this electronic road is a solution to a non-existing problem that gives EU regulators have something to do and greenies something to look at.
at best its a fashion statement in driveway pavering for the ruling class elite.  :-DD 
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Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #80 on: December 24, 2017, 02:26:27 pm »
I don't know what is cheaper/more expensive.
A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation will tell you that solar in roadways are a non-starter compared to pretty much everything else imaginable.  Certainly much, much worse than solar over roadways.   :palm:
Without actual numbers that is just an assumption / opinion. And that is precisely what I object to because good engineers don't do that. Very early on in my career I have learned to ask questions and understand the reasoning behind a solution before calling it stupid. It greatly reduces 'foot in mouth' situations. People are dismissing an idea off the bat based on half of the story while sitting in their armchairs. See my reply to Dave.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 02:31:53 pm by nctnico »
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Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #81 on: December 24, 2017, 02:31:08 pm »
Without actual numbers that is just an assumption / opinion.

Oh, my...  Do you work for Solar Roadways?   :palm:

Where are your numbers to refute those being provided by everyone else that show the whole idea is insane?

Have you actually watched any of these videos with the real numbers?   :palm:
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #82 on: December 24, 2017, 02:37:27 pm »
Without actual numbers that is just an assumption / opinion.

Oh, my...  Do you work for Solar Roadways?   :palm:

Where are your numbers to refute those being provided by everyone else that show the whole idea is insane?

Have you actually watched any of these videos with the real numbers?   :palm:
I'm sure Dave's numbers are OK and I'm not refuting them. On the other side there is Colas a multi-billion euro company which has invested a lot of time & money into this technology. This tells me there is some crucial information which paints the big picture missing and it is therefore impossible to determine whether the idea of solar roadways the way Colas wants to implement them is worthwhile or not. I just sit and watch where the idea goes :popcorn: See what I added to my previous post.

Edit: IMHO Dave should visit Colas and have them explain how they think solar roadways are a viable solution.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 02:39:44 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #83 on: December 24, 2017, 02:53:56 pm »
On the other side there is Colas a multi-billion euro company which has invested a lot of time & money into this technology. This tells me there is some crucial information which paints the big picture missing and it is therefore impossible to determine whether the idea of solar roadways the way Colas wants to implement them is worthwhile or not.

... is about the same logic as:

My grandfather worked for the water board in Ashton under lyne in the U.K. He used to carry divining rods to trace pipes.
...
I know my grandfather used to use them every day so I assume they must have worked.

Just because Colas is spending money on it does not mean it is a viable idea.  There are many reasons for them to do it, even though it makes absolutely no sense from a technical and economic perspective.

Without actual numbers that is just an assumption / opinion. And that is precisely what I object to because good engineers don't do that. Very early on in my career I have learned to ask questions and understand the reasoning behind a solution before calling it stupid.

A good engineer should be able to do the order of magnitude calculation to realize that ideas like this are not viable.  uBeam, Batteriser, self filling water bottles and magic environmental condensers, solar panels in the roadways...   :palm:
 

Offline jonovid

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #84 on: December 24, 2017, 03:08:37 pm »
had a good look at the wattway solar road matting. 
the looks like it has lot in common with vinyl flooring.  :o only needs year of heavy vehicle traffic over it to rip this vinyl matting up.
not to mention the many open circuits from tears or gaps pulled apart by tyres skidding over it.
the average life span of an asphalt or bitumen surface is about 26 years.
just a thought, bitumen is made with crude oil and greenies hate that. so wattway product maybe therapy  ::)

this type of electronic roadway is more fun.
Interactive LED Floor
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 04:12:12 pm by jonovid »
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Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #85 on: December 24, 2017, 03:23:48 pm »
OK, let's put some numbers on it. From https://managementscope.nl/opinie/overkapping-snelwegen-verdaas-hijum-a12 (in Dutch) it appears that putting a structure over a highway costs between 6M€ to 60M€ per km. Let's use the average and calculate with 33M€/km. BTW other websites quote numbers between 15M€ and 70M€ per km so 33M€ seems like a good number.

Now let's put a 336kW solar farm on top of a highway over a length of 1km. According to Dave's numbers a 336kW solar farm costs around 527k€ installed. The total costs will be 33M€ +527k€=33.5M€. That means it costs 33.5M€/336k=99.7€ per Watt which makes Colas' solar roadway 99/15=6.6 times cheaper per Watt.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #86 on: December 24, 2017, 03:24:27 pm »
I highly prefer the miles-driven approach which can simply be an odometer reading.

A sealed GPS-based odometer with a way to detect it from the roadside would probably be most practical.

There could be odometer detectors at major intersections and police could park detector vans randomly to catch people who drive without one.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 03:28:35 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #87 on: December 24, 2017, 03:39:44 pm »
OK, let's put some numbers on it. From https://managementscope.nl/opinie/overkapping-snelwegen-verdaas-hijum-a12 (in Dutch) it appears that putting a structure over a highway costs between 6M€ to 60M€ per km.

That is not the kind of structure you build to mount solar panels near or above your roadway.  :palm:

 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #88 on: December 24, 2017, 03:46:20 pm »
A sealed GPS-based odometer with a way to detect it from the roadside would probably be most practical.

There could be odometer detectors at major intersections and police could park detector vans randomly to catch people who drive without one.

Why would you add a whole bunch of unnecessary, expensive infrastructure instead of just recording odometer readings at registration renewal time?  Many jurisdictions already ask for that information for various reasons, including just simply for statistical analysis.  It seems more logical to simply do that and then have a tax bill based on that, hopefully with the ability to pay monthly or something instead of one huge lump sum with the sticker shock that would make some people unable to afford to drive.  :)

The solution to every problem is not necessarily more electronics and the bureaucracy to support and enforce.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #89 on: December 24, 2017, 04:16:24 pm »
OK, let's put some numbers on it. From https://managementscope.nl/opinie/overkapping-snelwegen-verdaas-hijum-a12 (in Dutch) it appears that putting a structure over a highway costs between 6M€ to 60M€ per km.

That is not the kind of structure you build to mount solar panels near or above your roadway.  :palm:
Yes it is. We are not talking about putting solar panels near a highway but over them so the structure will need a roof to catch rain, snow and ice. After all you can't have lumps of ice falling from the panels onto the road and cars. That would be too dangerous. So in turn the roof has to be strong enough to deal with a load of water, ice & snow.

As a sidenote: the Dutch word 'overkapping' literally means to put a structure over something. The word 'tunnel' is deliberately avoided because a tunnel is subject to very strict laws and thus way more expensive to build.

A sealed GPS-based odometer with a way to detect it from the roadside would probably be most practical.

There could be odometer detectors at major intersections and police could park detector vans randomly to catch people who drive without one.

Why would you add a whole bunch of unnecessary, expensive infrastructure instead of just recording odometer readings at registration renewal time?  Many jurisdictions already ask for that information for various reasons, including just simply for statistical analysis.  It seems more logical to simply do that and then have a tax bill based on that, hopefully with the ability to pay monthly or something instead of one huge lump sum with the sticker shock that would make some people unable to afford to drive.  :)

The solution to every problem is not necessarily more electronics and the bureaucracy to support and enforce.
I agree. The odometer is already mandatory and in many countries it is a criminal offense to tamper with it. Besides that GPS isn't accurate enough to determine the position of a car (especially in a city with tall building) so that is no solution both from a technical and legal point of view. From a legal point of view there has to be a way to proof beyond reasonable doubt that your car was at a certain point at a certain time and GPS simply can't do that.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 04:23:35 pm by nctnico »
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Offline james_s

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #90 on: December 24, 2017, 04:16:46 pm »
A GPS is trivially easy to jam too. Even a simple shield placed over the antenna will typically block it. Layering on more and more technology is just going to create more headaches and higher costs.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #91 on: December 24, 2017, 04:25:40 pm »
A sealed GPS-based odometer with a way to detect it from the roadside would probably be most practical.

There could be odometer detectors at major intersections and police could park detector vans randomly to catch people who drive without one.

Why would you add a whole bunch of unnecessary, expensive infrastructure instead of just recording odometer readings at registration renewal time?

Because currently there's not much financial incentive to cheat.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #92 on: December 24, 2017, 04:29:41 pm »
A GPS is trivially easy to jam too. Even a simple shield placed over the antenna will typically block it.

Then you drive past an unmarked van and your odometer raises a red flag due to no GPS signal.

You can't say you weren't warned becasue the red light on your dashboard was telling you all about it.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #93 on: December 24, 2017, 05:06:05 pm »
A GPS is trivially easy to jam too. Even a simple shield placed over the antenna will typically block it.

Then you drive past an unmarked van and your odometer raises a red flag due to no GPS signal.

You can't say you weren't warned becasue the red light on your dashboard was telling you all about it.

What am I supposed to do if the red light comes on? Pull over and stop in some sketchy area? Frankly the whole unmarked van thing sounds a bit creepy, people would be up in arms about that in the US, I certainly would do anything I could to undermine the whole system. Could probably pull off something like that in the UK though, they seem to love their big brother CCTV cameras over there.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #94 on: December 24, 2017, 05:34:21 pm »
A sealed GPS-based odometer with a way to detect it from the roadside would probably be most practical.

There could be odometer detectors at major intersections and police could park detector vans randomly to catch people who drive without one.

Why would you add a whole bunch of unnecessary, expensive infrastructure instead of just recording odometer readings at registration renewal time?
Because currently there's not much financial incentive to cheat.
Yes there is! A car with less mileage is way more valuable so it is very lucrative to lower it's reading. This is why tampering with the odometer is illegal in many countries. In the NL you can check the national vehicle registration database online to see if the odometer of a car has been tampered with or not. BTW a car which is marked to have a tampered odometer is worth much less which is why my wife's car was pretty cheap to buy. At some point the unit with the odometer got replaced and this wasn't reported to the national vehicle database properly so the car's odometer got marked as 'tampered with' permanently.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 05:40:18 pm by nctnico »
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Offline hermit

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #95 on: December 24, 2017, 06:07:58 pm »
What could possibly save this idea?
Changing technology and market forces.

What factors in the equation could change to make this economic/sensible?

The solar radiation per square meter isn't likely to change anytime soon, neither is geometry.


Edit: Now China is at it: https://electrek.co/2017/12/21/china-solar-roadways-transparent-concrete-solar-cells-charge-cars/
The same factors that made fracking "economic/sensible".  I'm 65 and was told about the shale oil in grade school and the reasons it could "never" be used.  Nearly impossible to get out economically.  Well, it is still expensive but price, driven by demand, resulted in someone figuring out a way to get it out and make money.  Oil wells didn't go away and they are cheaper.  I don't want to hear oil wells and solar aren't the same.  I already know the arguments you can present and they are nothing but a distraction form the point that economics and technology could possibly make this feasible in the future. (What if someone comes up with a method of mass producing a lens in the surface to capture the sunlight instead of a random surface?  It only takes little bubbles of transmissive material.)  I've lived long enough to see this happen so given the pace of technology and the growing world population, I don't rule this out as feasible at some point.  As I pointed out in my original post, and again here, I've seen the 'impossible' become possible.  People can make whatever claims they want because no one is going to come back to this forum in 20/40 years time and give a rats axe about the opinions tossed out as hard fact.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #96 on: December 24, 2017, 10:40:03 pm »
You make assumptions about maintenance costs and costs to build structures to put solar panels over a road (not to mention the years it will take to get the permits to build those structures) but I see no numbers to back those assumptions.
Let me get this straight...  You're saying that you believe it will be less costly to design a robust enough panel for in-road use, get that tested and approved, build the panels and install them into the road surface, then maintain them over the long term than it would be to stick them up on poles above the road surface?!   :wtf:

That's insane.   :scared:
I don't know what is cheaper/more expensive.

How about using your engineering intuition?

Quote
I do know that it will involve more than putting a panel on a pole. First of all any kind of  construction will need to be able to deal with snow and/or strong winds and offer maintenance access to the panels. A few bits of aluminium tubing aren't going to cut it. If you want to use as much surface as possible a structure to support solar panels will become some sort of tunnel (roof over the road) which then may lead to needing to implement all kind of safety features like escape routes, extra lanes, etc. And then there are the endless procedures to get building permits because people will complain about the structures spoiling their view and stretch legal procedures for many years. Also think about the impact when the road needs to be made wider or changed. All in all the costs do add up quickly. Putting the panels on the road surface versus over the road isn't like expensive versus free so I don't want to discard either idea off the bat.

Keep digging, you are basically the only person on here who thinks the system has real merit, there is a reason for that.
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #97 on: December 24, 2017, 11:04:46 pm »
OK, let's put some numbers on it. From https://managementscope.nl/opinie/overkapping-snelwegen-verdaas-hijum-a12 (in Dutch) it appears that putting a structure over a highway costs between 6M€ to 60M€ per km. Let's use the average and calculate with 33M€/km. BTW other websites quote numbers between 15M€ and 70M€ per km so 33M€ seems like a good number.

Now let's put a 336kW solar farm on top of a highway over a length of 1km. According to Dave's numbers a 336kW solar farm costs around 527k€ installed. The total costs will be 33M€ +527k€=33.5M€. That means it costs 33.5M€/336k=99.7€ per Watt which makes Colas' solar roadway 99/15=6.6 times cheaper per Watt.
Your calculation are not even ballpark right. It is possible to place just 2 axis solar trackers in the middle of the highway. It is a proven solution. And there are special ones, with high ground clearance. I park my car below one at work. And it payed for itself already, so financially viable, it was already financially viable 10 years ago. 18 panels on it.

Trackers add a 30% increase in system cost. Fixed installation is cheaper, since there are no motors and stuff. And trackers are actually not really viable anymore since fixed installation with more panels is cheaper. But let's run concrete numbers.
A 3KW solar tracker costs 4500 EUR, plus about 2000 EUR for installation. So a 336KW system is about 750KEUR. You are not even close.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #98 on: December 25, 2017, 12:12:12 am »
OK, let's put some numbers on it. From https://managementscope.nl/opinie/overkapping-snelwegen-verdaas-hijum-a12 (in Dutch) it appears that putting a structure over a highway costs between 6M€ to 60M€ per km. Let's use the average and calculate with 33M€/km. BTW other websites quote numbers between 15M€ and 70M€ per km so 33M€ seems like a good number.

Now let's put a 336kW solar farm on top of a highway over a length of 1km. According to Dave's numbers a 336kW solar farm costs around 527k€ installed. The total costs will be 33M€ +527k€=33.5M€. That means it costs 33.5M€/336k=99.7€ per Watt which makes Colas' solar roadway 99/15=6.6 times cheaper per Watt.
Your calculation are not even ballpark right. It is possible to place just 2 axis solar trackers in the middle of the highway. It is a proven solution. And there are special ones, with high ground clearance. I park my car below one at work. And it payed for itself already, so financially viable, it was already financially viable 10 years ago. 18 panels on it.
But then you are still placing panels besides the road and not over the road so you are not comparing apples with apples. Placing panels besides the road is cheap & simple but it doesn't maximise the usage of the available space. Try to come up with a cheap solution which spans 8 lanes (2x3 lanes + 2 emergency lanes).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1047 - Solar Roadways FINALLY BUSTED Colas Wattway
« Reply #99 on: December 25, 2017, 12:19:07 am »
You make assumptions about maintenance costs and costs to build structures to put solar panels over a road (not to mention the years it will take to get the permits to build those structures) but I see no numbers to back those assumptions.
Let me get this straight...  You're saying that you believe it will be less costly to design a robust enough panel for in-road use, get that tested and approved, build the panels and install them into the road surface, then maintain them over the long term than it would be to stick them up on poles above the road surface?!   :wtf:

That's insane.   :scared:
I don't know what is cheaper/more expensive.
How about using your engineering intuition?
My engineering intuition says a big company is not going to waste effort and money on something that is never going to be viable. But further than that I rather do the math based on facts because intuition is a guess at best which can be completely wrong.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 


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