With a multiday, multiregion storm impacting 100 million people over the next couple of days, solar roads that melt snow and ice seem less like a far-fetched pipe dream and more like an obvious investment. Engineers on opposite sides of the country are working to make that happen.
Solar Roadways in Boise, Idaho, received a contract from the Federal Highway Administration to build a solar road panel prototype, which was completed early last year. The 12x12-square-foot road designed by engineer and CEO Scott Brusaw is made out of panels encased in strong and durable glass with the traction of asphalt and that won't cause glare.
Each encased panel generates 7.6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, and can be connected to smart grids to power homes and business. Wireless LED lights embedded in the glass create road signs and weight-sensitive crosswalks. They also contain heating elements that can melt snow and ice.
The technology to make snow plowing obsolete is similar to what's already used in automobile windshields. Heating elements in the glass melt existing snow or ice and prevent accumulation from developing. By preventing snow-related auto accidents and improving road access for emergency responders, the technology would save a lot of lives.
It could also save cities a lot of money. … Read more