But first we need to bring to the world. An Indiegogo campaign has launched (and met its $1,000,000 funding campaign) that would introduce an incredibly ingenious idea to our cities (and beyond), starting with smaller surfaces such as parking lots and driveways.
While Buffalo has been experimenting with permeable roadways, there is an effort underway to create something much greener (for the future). Solar roadways would help to take care of problems such as potholes, antiquated power grids, and pollution. The uber-modern road panels would also help to minimize road kill, slipping on ice, snow plowing, vulnerable centralized power and cell phone dead spots. The new system would spell the end for overhead power lines, poor nighttime driving visibility, while minimizing dependence on fossil fuels and expensive road repair. The solar roadways would even help with national security issues and provide future infrastructure for autonomous and electric vehicles. Not to mention the creation of jobs. Plus, the panels are mostly comprised of recycled materials.
These panels can be placed directly over roadways and can be used to generate electricity for homes and businesses. They can withstand 250,000 pounds, so that even the heaviest of trucks can traverse them. And no more ice and snow on roads!! Or sidewalks for that matter… that means riding bikes all year round. And think of people with disabilities (ADA compliancy at highest level). Every panel has LED lights built right in, which means that traffic lanes could be altered, messages could be flashed, and at night the streets could even glow. The panels are also pressure sensitive to warn drivers when animals and people are crossing the road ahead.
No, we’re not going to see something like this roll out today, or tomorrow on our road systems… but the thought of heading in this direction and replacing roadways as they deteriorate is a fascinating prospect.
Buffalo should start playing around with this technology. To start, I think that we could take these solar road panels and line Ring Road in Delaware Park, and the adjoining basketball courts. This would provide an outdoor stage for people to walk, run, bike and play year round (and at all times of day and night). It could be the start of something big and green, and would ultimately put this city on the map in a completely different and forward thinking light.
Check out the Indiegogo project to learn more.