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Post Reply America’s First Solar Roadway Is A Total Disaster
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777 / The White House
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Posted 9/22/17 , edited 9/23/17
Well that didn't go so well... The solar roads ended up being a HUGE bust so far and their cost is insane. Think it might be best to keep sticking solar panels on roofs instead of driving on them...



http://principia-scientific.org/americas-first-solar-roadway-total-disaster/



A prototype solar roadway in Idaho was supposed to represent a possible green energy future, but technical issues have exposed just how far off the technology is from prime time.

Screenshots taken by Twitter users from the roadway’s official webcam show smoke coming out of a nearby electric box. Firefighters soon showed up to the scene, prompting the solar project’s official webcam to issue an update: “The Solar Roadways electrical system is currently undergoing maintenance. Please check back late next week.”

The prototype has a long history of disastrous technical issues. Roughly 25 out of 30 panels installed on it broke within a week after developers pumped $3.9 million into it over 6.5 years of development.

Despite massive internet hype, the prototype of solar “road” can’t be driven on, hasn’t generated any electricity and 75 percent of the panels were broken before they were even installed.

Of the panels installed to make a “solar footpath,” 18 of the 30 were dead on arrival due to a manufacturing failure. Rain caused another four panels to fail, and only five panels were functioning shortly thereafter. The prototype appears to be plagued by drainage issues, poor manufacturing controls and fundamental design flaws.

Every single promise made about the prototype seems to have fallen flat and the project appears to be a “total and epic failure,” according to an electrical engineer.

If it had worked, the panels would have powered a single water fountain and the lights in a restroom, after more than $500,000 in installation costs provided by a grant from the state government. The U.S. Department of Transportation initially handed $750,000 in grants to fund the research into the scheme, then invested another pair of grants worth $850,000 into it. The plan, dubbed, “Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways” raised another $2.2 million dollars in crowd-funding, even though several scientists publicly debunked the idea.

Scientists repeatedly criticized the scheme as panels on roads wouldn’t be tilted to follow the sun, which makes them incredibly inefficient, would often be covered by cars during periods when the sun is out and wouldn’t be capable of serving as a road for long.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has received fawning coverage in The Huffington Post, Nature World News, Newsweek, Wired, Ecowatch and National Geographic. The program was supported by political leaders like Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo.
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37 / M / UK
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Posted 9/22/17 , edited 9/23/17
Meanwhile, in Europe...

https://www.sciencealert.com/solar-roads-in-the-netherlands-are-working-even-better-than-expected


The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.

Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year.
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33 / M / Riding sound waves
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17


Check your source

http://www.businessinsider.com/solar-road-panels-first-public-test-2016-10
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20 / M / Palm Coast, Florida
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17
What a waste, nice to see where the people's money is going to.
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777 / The White House
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

MidoriNoTora wrote:

Meanwhile, in Europe...

https://www.sciencealert.com/solar-roads-in-the-netherlands-are-working-even-better-than-expected


The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.

Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year.


That's probably a much smarter idea. Start with walking and bike paths then work your way up to cars. Something this new needs testing and the lighter the loads the better. Fix bugs and improve till you think you have a grasp on the requirements for cars.
Ejanss 
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

Rujikin wrote:

Well that didn't go so well... The solar roads ended up being a HUGE bust so far and their cost is insane. Think it might be best to keep sticking solar panels on roofs instead of driving on them...


THAT'S it! I kept reading this Rujij post three times wondering, "What's the Trump-aganda in this one? 'Obama spent too much on alternative energy, and now it's obviously a failure", or...??
(I mean, it's not like he ever posts here just to talk with us.)

Ah, but you see, we shouldn't spend money on alternative energy because it's a lie, and nobody should ever have to spend money on anything...Knew there had to be some connection.
runec 
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17
Uh. This seems to pretty clearly be an example of the fine American tradition of farming it out to the lowest bidder rather than a failure of the concept.
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

Ejanss wrote:

THAT'S it! I kept reading this Rujij post three times wondering, "What's the Trump-aganda in this one? 'Obama spent too much on alternative energy, and now it's obviously a failure", or...??
(I mean, it's not like he ever posts here just to talk with us.)

Ah, but you see, we shouldn't spend money on alternative energy because it's a lie, and nobody should ever have to spend money on anything...Knew there had to be some connection.


With all due respect did you actually have an opinion or are you just trolling Rujii-kun? He did in a follow up think walkways or bike baths were a better idea. So your aggressive comment seems in poor taste. Personally I think solar roadways don't seem very smart. when you have vehicles ranging from 1900lbs to 100 metric tons.... solar panels just aren't really a good surface to make a road with. The surface needs to be transparent and relatively clear. So even if you made it out of some sort of plastic composite scratches or even oil/gas leaking onto it would cloud it and reduce efficiency, to say nothing of exhaust slowly clouding it up.

I think parking garages would be excellent places for solar power generation. Top floor is usually elevated with little to no obstructions, and you could even put the panels on servos to follow the sun. Another thing I have heard of trying but never seen done is "transparent" solar panels used as windows on skyscrapers. I mean even the Columbia tower in Seattle has enough windows to put a solar plant to shame.... If it could be done safely I would think something like in Gundam series would be best bet. A huge array of solar panels just outside of earths atmosphere where it would receive light almost non stop. Plus in space you don't have to worry about parts overheating since its a vacuum.

The issues listed with the project sound like manufacturer should be taken to court for costs. Half the panels DOA? Sounds like the solar company(Solindra?) that went bankrupt after eating millions of tax dollars.
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21 / M / Bundaberg, Queens...
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

MidoriNoTora wrote:

Meanwhile, in Europe...

https://www.sciencealert.com/solar-roads-in-the-netherlands-are-working-even-better-than-expected


The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.

Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year.


Europe can out science America.

That's funny
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M
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17
Interesting idea, but maybe (probably) too soon.
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

MidoriNoTora wrote:

Meanwhile, in Europe...

https://www.sciencealert.com/solar-roads-in-the-netherlands-are-working-even-better-than-expected


The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.

Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year.


This is what I thought of from the time they said they want solar roads. Even concrete roadways/highways/ motorways need constant maintenance to keep them roadworthy. Pedestrian pathways and bikeways have lighter traffic and would be easier to maintain plus cost less.
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26 / M
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17
Yeah the idea of solar roadways was stupid and doomed to fail.

Like a few have said MAYBE doing the top of parking garages would work since they are esposed a good chunk of the day and therefor making solar panels that can handle car loads has at least some merit.

But we're putting in countless dollars and hours of work into just keeping current roads driveable. Not to mention how often an accident is happening somewhere.

Then there is the fact that flat laying solar panels just aren't very good and work at not even 3/4 efficiency under ideal conditions when they are positioned like that.


Honestly I'm a bit skeptical about the netherlands bike trail as well. I feel it's going to break more easily than they claim and although they said it could "Power a house" what kind of house? Was it a small or a big one? Were they using a lot of electronics or was it just a few bulbs and maybe the AC? How much length of road was needed to power it? I"m not saying this isn't interesting and it's a hell of a lot more promising than the solar roadway.


If nothing else if it can power it's own LED at night then that's free lit roads for night biking which is pretty cool.
Dragon
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17
Honestly, I know nothing of this. But based on the headline and disaster rating, I'll just say this:

Man, remember when the first powered airplane was out there? That failed SO HARD. Good thing we didn't follow up on that at all, right? Be a total waste of resources to improve on it for daily use or anything.
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

MakotoKamui wrote:

Honestly, I know nothing of this. But based on the headline and disaster rating, I'll just say this:

Man, remember when the first powered airplane was out there? That failed SO HARD. Good thing we didn't follow up on that at all, right? Be a total waste of resources to improve on it for daily use or anything.


there's just a few problems with the miraculous solar roadways:

1. it's ridiculously expensive.
2. it doesn't actually generate enough energy to justify the cost
3. physics tells you you'd get far more energy by installing the panels in the roof instead. this makes sense, since they are less covered throughout the day and can be made to track the sun position to maximize energy yield.
4. the material would easily get damaged. imagine hundreds of vehicles, each weighting a few tons, pressing and rubbing through the glass every day. rememebr that each of them have flimsy electrical components inside.
5. artist rendering showing how it could work =/= product will actually work

the grid doesn't store energy like that. it's use it or lose it


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzzz5DdzyWY
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777 / The White House
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Posted 9/23/17 , edited 9/23/17

Ejanss wrote:


Rujikin wrote:

Well that didn't go so well... The solar roads ended up being a HUGE bust so far and their cost is insane. Think it might be best to keep sticking solar panels on roofs instead of driving on them...


THAT'S it! I kept reading this Rujij post three times wondering, "What's the Trump-aganda in this one? 'Obama spent too much on alternative energy, and now it's obviously a failure", or...??
(I mean, it's not like he ever posts here just to talk with us.)

Ah, but you see, we shouldn't spend money on alternative energy because it's a lie, and nobody should ever have to spend money on anything...Knew there had to be some connection.


My god your obsession with me and Trump is insane. Step back from the computer, go outside, and breathe in some fresh air. Maybe go on a walk.


MakotoKamui wrote:

Honestly, I know nothing of this. But based on the headline and disaster rating, I'll just say this:

Man, remember when the first powered airplane was out there? That failed SO HARD. Good thing we didn't follow up on that at all, right? Be a total waste of resources to improve on it for daily use or anything.


Summary: Company formed with the idea of using solar "cells" to pave a road so we generate energy and so they could be built to be longer lasting. It got a huge amount of crowdfunding. The goal right now is to cover a small part of an entrance to a parking lot with these cells as part of their tests. I think this is like the 3rd generation of their concept so far. The individual cells cost a fortune to make but they could conceptually provide a heating coil and melt snow/ice in the winter.

The first airplanes tested the concept and slowly improved to the point where they could have passengers and not crash. It feels like were jumping straight to passenger airlines from not knowing how to fly =/
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