Solar energy technology just keeps getting more amazing all the time. The solar panels on buildings and homes have become ubiquitous in Northern California. But what may lie ahead may lead to a world where a great percentage of our energy comes directly from the sun. I came across an application of solar technology that’s pretty incredible; solar walkways, roadways and highways.
Solar Roadways*, one of several companies that makes such a solar system, notes this about it’s technology: “[t]he primary purpose of our company is to generate clean renewable energy on roadways and any other surface that can be walked or driven upon. That would include: parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, tarmacs, plazas, bike paths, playgrounds, garden paths, pool surrounds, courtyards and the like.” Wow! Take a look.
The environmental impact is appealing to me as an architect because the physical footprint already taken up by roadways gets a double life. No need for banks of solar panels on their own piece of property.
Companies in other parts of the world are forging ahead with this technology as well.
In the Netherlands they’ve been testing a solar bike path for the last several years. Take a look at the Wiki page.
A French company, Wattway is in on the act.
In Britain, one company substitutes thermal heating of water for electrical generation.
Hey how about solar powered walls and fences?