Every year, more than half a million residential solar panel systems get installed in the U.S. This has led to solar panels appearing on top of over 3 million homes. But these days, more than just homes are generating solar power. Solar panels are installed in open fields, on top of parking garages, and in other places. It allows for producing renewable energy and creates a more sustainable future for the country.
Could solar roads be next? Some signs suggest that solar roadways could soon appear in different parts of the U.S. to capture even more solar energy. Is this concept too good to be true, though? We’ll explore the answer to this question and shed light on why solar roads might make a big splash if they’re ever built on a large scale. Keep reading to discover more about solar roads and the possibility of them getting built in the U.S.
What Are Solar Roads: A Basic Explanation
Solar roads are pretty much exactly what they sound like. They’re roads that contain photovoltaic cells like the ones found in solar panels. The thought is that solar roads would be superior to regular routes in a number of ways. First and foremost, they could provide power to the streetlights running down the sides of them. Solar roads could also have the power to melt any snow and ice that land on them. And maybe best of all, they could even eliminate the need for yellow and white lines running down the middle of them.
Additionally, there is a chance that solar roads could harvest enough solar power to warrant storing it. It could then provide power to other things that don’t have anything to do with roads later on.
Do Any Solar Roads Exist Right Now?
Solar roads sound like a fantastic idea, in theory. But unfortunately, there haven’t been too many of these solar roadways built yet. The first solar road ever popped up in a small French village called Tourouvre au Perche almost a decade ago. However, this particular town didn’t get a lot of sunlight on a daily basis. So the solar road built in it was eventually considered a failure. Next up came a solar bicycle path that was built in the Netherlands. But it wasn’t as durable as people hoped. It was eventually replaced by a non-solar path made out of materials that would stand the test of time.
China built a solar road at one point, too. But it was only about a mile long, and it cost way more to build it than what it was later worth. It didn’t generate enough solar power to justify the expense.
Here in the U.S., there is at least one solar road in Georgia that has shown some promise so far. But many of the other solar roadways that have been planned have been canceled before they even got off the ground.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Roads?
Solar roads haven’t gotten off to a great start yet. But there is a reason why there’s still so much excitement for them. People are in awe over the possible benefits of them. As we alluded to earlier, solar roadways might provide streetlights with power. They might also help do away with snow plows and maybe even help states avoid having to paint new lines on their roads all the time. But some believe that solar roads could one day generate enough power to provide electricity to the batteries in electric cars. The simple fact that this is up for discussion has inspired hope in so many people.
What Are the Drawbacks of Solar Roads?
Solar roads will provide so many benefits if engineers can figure out ways to build them. But the drawbacks of solar roadways are just too significant right now. The biggest drawback is the expense associated with them. It costs entirely too much money to build solar roads. Furthermore, maintaining solar roadways can be almost as expensive as building them in the first place. If anything happens to the photovoltaic cells on these roads, they’ll need to be replaced at a great expense.
The benefits of solar roads don’t outweigh the drawbacks yet, either. If they aren’t going to generate enough renewable energy to justify their cost, it doesn’t seem like they should come into existence at this time.
Are Solar Roads Too Good to Be True?
For now, it seems like solar roads are too good to be true. The concept behind them is nice and good-intentioned. But the costs that’ll come along with solar roadways might not work for most cities, states, and countries. That being said, those who have been working on developing these solar roads shouldn’t stop what they’re doing and give up. There has been enough excitement surrounding the idea of solar roadways to push this idea forward. If nothing else, small solar roads situated here and there could help towns and cities capitalize on the benefits of solar power. A solar road like the one located in Georgia should give everyone some hope and keep the idea of solar roads existing one day alive.
Will Solar Roads Ever Be Feasible?
There could very well come a day when solar roads are feasible. But in order for this day to come, those working on building them will need to accomplish a few key goals. For starters, they’ll have to find out a way to build solar roads for so much cheaper than they can now.
A solar road like the one in China costs between $400 and $500 per square foot to build. That’s just too much money to spend on a road. They’ll also need to figure out how to build solar roads that are going to last for a long time and not require maintenance on a regular basis. Otherwise, these solar roads are going to cost a lot upfront and cost even more in the years to come.
Lastly, they’ll need to come up with a better way to use solar roadways to generate solar power. These roads must generate enough solar energy for building them to make sense. Until these conditions are met, it’s unlikely we’re going to see too many solar roadways popping up. But with the price tags on solar panels coming down in recent years, who knows? We could very well be right on the verge of having solar roads make financial sense.
What If Solar Roads Aren’t Ever Built?
If solar roads don’t ever become a part of our everyday lives, it’ll be a bit of a bummer. Once upon a time, solar roadways had so much promise. But that doesn’t mean people should feel differently about solar power than they do now. They should continue to do their part to welcome more solar panel systems into the world. You can do this by having solar panels installed on your home’s roof if you haven’t already. These solar panels will help provide your house with the electricity it needs. They might also generate enough solar energy to send some electricity back onto your local power grid.
Are you interested in discovering more about having solar panels installed on your roof? You can visit blueravensolar.com to get the information you’re looking for. You may be surprised to see how affordable solar panel systems are nowadays. You might also be shocked by how much money they can save you on your electric bills each month. One day, you might get to embrace your love for solar energy by driving an electric car around on solar roads. But for the moment, you can still get excited over solar energy through the use of a residential solar panel system.
Finding New Ways to Generate Solar Power Is Vital. If someone is able to find the right way to install solar roads that don’t cost a small fortune, that would be awesome. It would truly be a turning point in the fight to incorporate more renewable energy into the U.S. But since it doesn’t appear solar roadways will be coming anytime soon, it’s vital for the country to find other ways to generate solar power. Installing residential solar panel systems and setting up solar farms are two great options.