Technology.am (Sept. 07, 2009) — Solar Roadways has been awarded a $100,000 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) contract that will enable them to prototype the first ever Solar Road Panel, an energy-generating panel made from solar cells and glass that is meant to replace petroleum-based asphalt on roads and in parking lots.
The Solar Road Panels will contain embedded LEDs which “paint” the road lines from beneath to provide travel lines as well as timely warnings to drivers about roadblocks and wildlife up ahead
It will be able to sense wildlife on the road, which can warn drivers to slow down. Its embedded heating elements in the surface will prevent snow and ice from building up on the road. This feature will become an intelligent highway that will double as a secure, intelligent, decentralized, self-healing power grid which will enable a gradual weaning from fossil fuels.
Fully electric vehicles will be able to recharge along the roadway and in parking lots, finally making electric cars practical for long trips.
It is estimated that to cover the entire US highway system with his 12′ by 12′ panels could fulfill the country’s energy needs.
The each Solar Road Panel costs $6,900–but it could provide enough power to take 500 homes off-grid.