Last weekend I was hiking with a friend and his 22-year old son, who started talking excitedly about Solar Roadways. Then on Monday my wife sent me a link to a youtube video about Solar Roadways that I was shocked to learn had already been viewed by over 10 million people. In a few short days, it seemed, the whole world had been turned on its head by an enterprising couple from Idaho, Scott and Julie Brusaw, who propose covering the Nation's roadways with rugged glass hexagons that would simultaneously generate electricity, give off heat to obviate the need for plowing, and even alert us when a moose is crossing the road at night. With enough vision, one can even imagine a world of self-driving electric cars that are continually being charged and assisted by this new "smart" roadbed.
While I was bumping along the Orfordville road in my 1946 Dodge pickup, these folks raised $1.4 million on a crowd-funding campaign!
Well, to paraphrase the Book of Job, "the Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away." After scratching my head for a few days, I did some more homework and found that it might cost $10,000 to cover an area the size of a one-car parking space with these ultra-rugged glass panels with embedded with solar cells. Then there's the problem of transmission and storage of the electricity. And, oh yeah, what do you do about the dirt and skid marks that will block the passage of light? Most observers note that even though its much less expensive to put solar panels on roof-tops, market penetration has been pretty anemic - less than 1% of the Nation's electricity currently comes from Solar.
Still, its a grand idea and a spirited on-line debate; much more stimulating (to me) than, say, the question of who deserves to win "Dancing with the Stars." So here's a few links to get you started:
Let me know what you think. Meanwhile I'm marveling at how much progress they've made grading (or as old-timer Billy Johnson in Norwich used to say, "honing") the Upper Valley's dirt roads in the past few months! We've got the Spring Thaw on the run!