Solar Powered Roadways Helping Transportation to Go Green

For decades, we’ve been fighting over oil. We’ve had good times where barrels of oil are cheap so gas prices take a dive, and we’ve survived when prices of barrels spiked and gas priced went up to $4 (or, in some places, $5) per gallon. Then, a disturbing report came out: at the current rate of consumption, we’re going to run out of oil by 2060.

Some of us may think “that’s not really a big deal, I’ll be dead by then!”, while others worry about the future planet we leave to our children. It’s those people that started an initiative to have the auto industry go green. It took several years from concept to reality, but the first eco-friendly hybrid cars began showing up in North America in 2000. Homes even are getting in on the environmentally friendly kick like custom window treatments can help the insulation of a home.

The first batch of hybrid cars had their fair share of problems. First and foremost, it didn’t seem like the United States was ready – a little under 125,000 cars were sold. Not only that, but the range wasn’t very impressive – many motorists were worried about getting stranded. Places like New Mexico with sprawling roads could be worrisome for those who used to have hybrids. Moving to a place like Albequerque could help as this is densely populated. Check out some real estate agents if thinking of moving like those at and ask if you have any questions.

As technology continued to evolve, eyes turned toward our roadways. There’s quite a few problems with our roadways, the foremost being that asphalt prices are on the rise. The price to lay down asphalt over a two mile stretch of road has more than tripled since the turn of the century. The big question: how do we solve this problem?

Solar powered roadways. Yes, you read that correctly. Just like the solar panels that we have on our house, the goal is to line our roads with individual solar panels. It may seem like something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s going to quickly become a reality.

Solar Roadways

The roads are made of glass that has been manufactured to be as strong as steel. Of course, cars need traction, so they added grooves to the road so vehicles could ride at a smooth pace. The upkeep isn’t awful, either – rather than shut down an entire stretch of road for hours or days at a time, they simply remove that panel and lay down a new one.

The benefits of a solar panel roadway are endless. The roads would be illuminated, so those that have always had issues driving at night would be able to do so again. Most importantly, solar powered roadways will be able to withstand daily wear and tear for at least 30 years, compared to asphalt’s 7 to 12 years. Whether you are a mental health professional as seen on or a lawyer, this is a great way to save the environment.

Solar powered roadways wouldn’t just be for messages and illumination. The solar panels are wired in a way that they’d be able to provide energy to nearby buildings. This would drastically reduce our electric bills, which would take a load off of our already constrained wallets. You’d also never have to repaint the road again. The solar panels have LED lights on top, so they can be programmed to have whatever configuration you want. Messages could be broadcasted on the roadways, which allows states to save extra money in installation and upkeep of electronic message boards on the highway. If there’s an obstruction in the roadway, you’d no longer have to rely on your headlights to reveal it – the solar panels are pressure sensitive, so if something is blocking the road, the road will be lit up in that area.

The idea behind solar powered roadways is to create a clean future with a reduced focus on oil.  Though they won’t be able to charge cars yet, but it’s in the works for the future. Eco-friendly technology has jumped leaps and bounds in the past 14 years, and the recently released hydrogen-powered car by Hyundai ix35 can travel up to 350 miles on a single tank. This should alleviate any concerns that citizens have about buying an eco-friendly car and not being satisfied with its single-tank mileage.

Solar powered roadways are also coming sooner than you think – the first one has already been laid down in Amsterdam. Though it only stretches for 70 meters, it’s long enough to serve as a proof-of-concept. Bike riders are getting a first hand look (and feel) at the roadway, and they’re encouraged to ride their bike over it.

Solar powered roadways are the next logical step to a cleaner, greener future. 

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JT was born and raised in northern suburb of Detroit, MI and now resides in Tampa, FL where he graduated from USF with a major in environmental science and policy (ESP) and a minor in English. JT is currently working as a freelance writer and volunteers at the central Florida green building council. Ever since he was a kid he had a love for nature and animals and has been an eco-enthusiast since. JT has always tried his best to do his part to help the world be a cleaner, greener, more efficient place and has always tried get others involved as well.

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