What Would Be The Downside To Trying Solar Roadways?

I get tired of moaning and groaning about our broken political system, so here’s something I found that gives me hope for America.

Germany is making us look bad, because some thirty years after we passed up the chance to lead the world in solar energy, that country is astounding the world with what it’s been able to do with solar in a very short time.

This looks like a chance for America to lead the way yet, with – job creating – American made technology that the world would love to have. I realize this is a promotional video which is most likely not pointing to many downsides of their product, but can’t we just try it? It seems much simpler then going to the moon, and we’re all tired of the oil spills; most of which we never even hear about, because the stories are mostly banned from the media.

Check it out. There are lots of other videos on the subject, including a “TED” talk by the inventor, which I haven’t had time to watch yet.

UPDATE: Here’s the TED talk from Scott Brusaw and one other video.

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on May 24, 2014 - 5:37 am


    I realize glass is slippery…

    Perhaps every vehicle – including bicycles – will have to use a different kind of tire.

    Let me remind you that we drove to the moon in a Cadillac and left it there for China to drive; (if you haven’t seen the ad, don’t even try to figure out the last sentence.)

    • #2 by Anonymous on May 28, 2014 - 4:38 pm

      The glass is textured. In earlier tests, the texture provided too much grip and had to be redesigned.

      • #3 by Larry Bergan on May 28, 2014 - 7:56 pm

        Yeah. The part where he said the surface was tested and approved for traction blew right by me. Considering the subject; what would be the downside to traction?

        I’m thinking that tires would wear out.

        • #4 by Larry Bergan on May 28, 2014 - 8:30 pm

          You don’t seem like the “anonymous” that I was talking to before. Do you think there’s been a mix-up?

      • #5 by Larry Bergan on May 28, 2014 - 8:32 pm

        You don’t seem like the “anonymous” that I was talking to before. Do you think there’s been a mix-up?

  2. #6 by cav on May 24, 2014 - 6:42 am

    It does appear the relative lack of sunlight on roads covered with snow is precisely the cause of the snow falling on them in the first place. It will melt – later, when the planet tilts back to a sunnier incline. Back to the drawing board.

    Other than that, the power of viral video isn’t likely to carry against the oil and gas industries who really ARE the road builders.

    • #7 by Anonymous on May 28, 2014 - 4:39 pm

      The solar roadways have a heating element that melts the snow and ice so they should be relatively dry.

      • #8 by cav on May 28, 2014 - 7:58 pm

        Heating elements powered by the sun that in some instances, never gets much above the horizon in December — when for this very reason any pricip is likely to come in the form of snow! Great Googly Mooglie. I soo impress myself. Of course all the snow in Florida ought to be zapped by these roadway heating elements almost as it touches the ground

        This reality ain’t a-gonna drive no heat element. Just sayin.

  3. #9 by Larry Bergan on May 24, 2014 - 7:57 am

    I don’t know where tar comes from, but it smells really bad, and the ambient smoke probably kills a lot of workers and passer-by’s

    Replacing a hexagon doesn’t seem as dangerous.

  4. #10 by Anonymous on May 24, 2014 - 10:18 am

    Um, the fact is despite having 40% of the world’s solar panels on their soil, Germany’s benefit from this investment is that they provide but 3% of her electrical needs.

    From wiki, some estimates are even lower.


    Germany is in the process of building coal plants to replace their nuclear they are shutting down, but they may not, renewable energy being too expensive.


    Keep in mind Germans are paying 27 cents a kilowatt for their power, however they get it, about triple what we here pay in the US.

    • #11 by Nathan Erkkila on May 24, 2014 - 4:21 pm

      Well if climate change doesn’t concern you, then have fun starving to death once the oil runs out.

    • #12 by Larry Bergan on May 25, 2014 - 9:38 am

      Germany has a goal of producing %100 percent of it’s power from solar by 2050. That’s a good goal to have. Here we let competitors influence lawmakers to impose a tax on people who install their own solar systems.

      Germany has the better idea.

      The %3 figure is from 2011. I’m confused though because I saw somewhere that one day this year, Germany produced %75 percent of it’s energy needs from solar.

  5. #13 by Anonymous on May 24, 2014 - 10:21 am

    If you are technically smarter than the Germans by all means do something to aid the energy situation in this corrupted gutter trash nation.

    As renewable exceeds the standing consumer price of 27 cents a kw the world has been indeed as you describe…astounded.

  6. #14 by Nathan Erkkila on May 24, 2014 - 4:17 pm

    This looks very promising and the kickstarter for this is doing very well.

    • #15 by Larry Bergan on May 25, 2014 - 9:41 am

      I think it’s an exciting prospect. The least we can do is try it out somewhere. The bicyclists would love it in the winter.

  7. #16 by Anonymous on May 24, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Well depopulation is certainly part of the elite plan, and there is as yet no replacement for the energy that led us to our current population. There were people before oil, there will be people after, just a lot less of them, just like there was before oil.

    Agenda 21 is the template, and there is enough coal to be turned into gas and petroleum product to run humanity for longer than we will be alive. German style synthesis, currently happening en large in South Africa.

    The point of the links is to point out, even with the competency and commitment of Germans, renewables just aren’t cutting it for an industrialized nation.

    Climate change is an endemic earth based condition, sea level having risen over 400 feet in the last 13k years, going to have to adapt, or go extinct, certainly nothing unusual on planet earth over the eons either.

  8. #17 by Larry Bergan on May 25, 2014 - 10:39 am

    I would LOVE to have a job making solar panels. I would feel like I was doing something really important with my time!

  9. #18 by Anonymous on May 25, 2014 - 2:23 pm

    The German government is ending subsidies for solar and wind this year, so that probably isn’t going to happen Larry. Many solar panels require as much energy to make as they will produce in their use able life, so the effort is sort of a boondoggle.

    This is what Germans are discovering and now admitting, there however quite a few very wealthy people who sold panels moved by the easy money of subsidy.

    • #19 by Larry Bergan on May 26, 2014 - 9:29 pm

      You’re such a downer anonymous. What gives?

      Subsidy is only a bad word when it pays for things that don’t make any sense and are harming the earth. Ever heard the term, “oil subsidy”?

  10. #20 by Anonymous on May 27, 2014 - 1:00 am

    Subsidy comes out of working people’s pockets. If you want something badly enough pay for it yourself and when it doesn’t provide what was promised then you can kick your own self in your own ass.

    The truth is what is being described in the revelations the Germans are now experiencing. If you want your head in the clouds and then no power, or power at cost multiples far greater than other means then pay for that yourself. Solar is on the market, buy it and try it out for yourself.

    Germans are hardly profligate, solar production has environmental costs like anything else, and when it doesn’t cut it, it doesn’t cut it, so you so eliminate the crutches. 55% of German power is still made burning coal, and it will increase if you read the link.

    Pie in the sky only works so long and subsidy or not..coal is providing them with 19 times as much power at a far lower megawatt price. That cuts the mustard for Germany. Period. Experiment tried, and the potential of the effort put in its proper place.

  11. #21 by Larry Bergan on May 27, 2014 - 6:57 pm

    I found the article.

    Somebody’s lying. 🙁

    Germany is setting records in renewable energy and I doubt their investment in solar is only providing %3. If MY name was “Anonymous”, I could lie too.

  12. #22 by Anonymous on May 27, 2014 - 10:01 pm

    Sure they are setting records, one day on a lucky summer day they produced 50% of their electrical needs, the 3% is averaged out for the yyear There is this thing called “winter”, when it gets cloudy and days are short, and then this troubling phenomenon called ” night time” which has been interfering with expectations..has some dire consequences in maintaining what I call “switch power” which is about providing energy demands when people want and need them.

    The lie is coming from the renewable industries, well, it isnt zo much a lie as a misnterpretation…adjuncts are great, but very costly to date, and really are not cutting it for an industrialized nation which is actually producing stuff unlike most of the US.

    Oh yeah, and the damn Sun doesn’t come out much in northern Europe.

    As for lying there is no more subsidy, they are done with the spending as it is way more expensive than conventional generation, and as I said, a kilowatt is average three times the cost of power in the US.

  13. #23 by Anonymous on May 27, 2014 - 10:13 pm

    The source for the 3% figure is in the links I provided. If it had the potential to do what your article claims there would not be much reason to build 22 coal fired power stations as they currently are right now. They would subsidize more solar and wind right? Yet they are done as the cost for return is becoming prohibitive.

    It is an admirable effort, consider though that they are competent and skilled, and we are run by a bunch of fuckin’ greedy bozos.

  14. #24 by Cam on May 28, 2014 - 4:21 pm

    How about people read the FAQ?


    • #25 by cav on May 28, 2014 - 8:11 pm

      Above, I pipe off, once again about insolation of the roadway and the likely inability of the panels themselves being unable to melt the snow in more northerly latitudes.

      Cam’s pointing the FAQ (Grid Linkage – of course) has caused me to recant. I stand corrected.

      Thanks Cam.

      • #26 by Larry Bergan on May 28, 2014 - 8:49 pm

        Believe me Cam!

        To persuade cav to change his mind, is a point in time from now on.

  15. #29 by Anonymous on May 28, 2014 - 6:49 pm

    There is a reason roadways are made of asphalt, even n Germany.

    It is the heavy by product of oil production, with basically no other use, which makes it cheap, it melts and is relatively easy to apply, and very durable..even concrete roadway costs millions per kilometer.

    For the record the Germans begin their roadways with 16 to 24 inches of asphalt from the get go to enable there neato machines to simply drive over it, cook it up, and then resurface it with the very same asphalt. Usually at night, repairs being the dearth of high speed driving.

    For all their efficiency they are STILL driving at a gas guzzling 200 kph clip any time they can.

  16. #30 by Anonymous on May 30, 2014 - 8:28 pm

    Can you run a twenty ton plow truck on them with chains? You see what happens to asphalt….

    Jesus..what am I thinking? We can’t even properly pave the roads in most of the country…bandaid chip seal has spread from Utah to other states, it being the cheapest manner to pave a road.

    Chip seal doesn’t cut it in wet and northern climes…what the park disservice did in WA. Lasted two years before potting and ruin. Not cost effective, but we have people to kill, drones to run….

  17. #31 by Larry Bergan on May 31, 2014 - 5:49 pm

    Won’t need plow trucks with chains. The solar panels melt the ice just like the back window in your car. You must have missed it, Anonymous.

  18. #32 by cav on May 31, 2014 - 9:35 pm

    Larry, I believe what the FAQ said was more like the Broader grid would be involved in powering the heating elements embedded in the tiles. IOW: (ideally solar inputs to the grid or) Nuke, coal, hydro…you know ‘traditional’ sources of electricity would be utilized.

    Which is convenient if you’ve no qualms about those feeds – or other problems with electrical delivery to anywhere it happens to be snowing.

    Of course, once the roadway is snow free, sensors (presumably) would signal the Nuke etc to stand down.

    I do hope Cam is still reading.

  19. #34 by Larry Bergan on June 1, 2014 - 9:54 am

    So Utah has a big problem with carbon emissions from power plants. That’s been played down pretty well.

  20. #35 by Anonymous on June 1, 2014 - 11:21 am

    Oh uh huh, that is a lark..if ice forms on black asphalt in northern climes snow covered glass will need to be plowed in timely fashion for day to day use.

    The point is moot anyway, we cannot even properly pave our roads with the cheapest crap available.

    So now we are to heat the roadway to melt the ice with power we are to pay for. The only places I have seen this happening is where the masters of the universe hang out, Vail, Aspen, not even airport runways have such accommodation.

    56th now in infant mortality here in the US. Priorities? 38th in math and science now. Priorities? 28th in reading comprehension. Priorities? 26th in literacy. Priorities?

    #1 in drone murder.


  21. #36 by Anonymous on June 1, 2014 - 11:26 am

    Have you any simple idea how much energy is involved in the caloric equation in the thermodynamics of the latent heat required in melting? You would do this for miles and miles?

    Run down to Walmart and price me an electric blanket, get back to me. This speaks to America’s whopper of 38th @#$%&-+ place in math and science.


    Not trolling, as you did ask..”what could be wrong”?

    • #37 by Nathan Erkkila on June 1, 2014 - 5:57 pm

      The ability to cause heat depends on the ratio of amps to volts. A 9v battery can heat up steel wool to the point that it turns the material red. Same thing with a flashlight. Getting high temps at low watts is not a difficult task; even the Pentium 1, the first CPU to require a fan to prevent itself from frying used only 15 watts.

  22. #38 by Anonymous on June 1, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Utah doesn’t have a problem, Colorado and points east does if it is a problem at all.

    Utah burns the coal, and fallout is blowin’ east, so not Utah’s problem.

    Upstream equation and why there is nothing for it. Good people in Spewtah then, where your affluent burn the effluent.

    • #39 by Nathan Erkkila on June 1, 2014 - 2:53 pm

      So all that pollution that happens in Salt Lake is not Utah’s problem? Even if it wasn’t your problem, that’s pretty fucking selfish to think that,

  23. #40 by Larry Bergan on June 1, 2014 - 1:33 pm

    Let’s mine the sun.

  24. #41 by Anonymous on June 1, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    Of course Salt Lake has a problem, but I’m not too concerned about your swimming in your own shit there, that is your beer, solve it if you can, but don’t expect much help. Do it yourself, the rest of the country already paid for your no load ass in building your transit system.

    I was referring to the exportation of your problems via the wind

    And Nathan by the time the steel wool is red hot, you are going to be looking at a dead battery. No, solar roadways cost to much to date..you are better off owning some Blizzaks..

    What’s the Pentium processor, a square inch? How vast are miles of roads? LOL!!!

    We all love you for it.

  25. #42 by Anonymous on June 1, 2014 - 6:42 pm

    Larry, let’s mine the Sun, not quite, but we could make our best effort to create a successful fusion plant..that would something.

    Same process as the Sun. Wouldn’t need panels except for off grid locations then.

  26. #43 by Larry Bergan on June 2, 2014 - 8:52 pm

    I don’t know how a discussion about back window defrosters turned into a discussion about using an electric blanket to melt snow on the road. Maybe Anonymous could stop being overly dramatic.

  27. #44 by Anonymous on June 3, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    Maybe Larry could take a high school physics course, understand the latent heat required to melt ice.

    An electric blanket uses about 3-4 hundred watts, drawing 4 or 5 amps at 110 volts. A big one is 8′ by 8′ feet.

    Do the math.

    Electric blanket, window desfroster use the same technology, though the blanket uses AC power, the window defroster, DC.

  28. #45 by Larry Bergan on June 3, 2014 - 9:52 pm

    My back windshield melts caked on ice effortlessly, let alone snowflakes falling one at a time.

  29. #46 by Anonymous on June 3, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    Snowflakes melting one at a time…do you drive stoned Larry?

    I capitulate, you blonded me with frience. Look out for that snowflake!


  30. #47 by Anonymous on June 3, 2014 - 10:52 pm

    Are you sure you want to invest in traditional wind after the Germans have discovered they only get 16% of the expected 30% they planned on for every megawatt installed??

    Check this out.


  31. #49 by Anonymous on June 4, 2014 - 10:08 am

    Are you somehow missing that we can’t even pave the pot holes we have now? Bridges ready to fall in?

    Yet people are going to get 15 bucks an hr to flip burgers in Seattle. Should close iup a few fast food joints. People aren’t even getting that to pave roads.

    Gutter trash nation a strikes again!!

  32. #50 by cav on June 4, 2014 - 11:03 am

    No, I’m not missing that. It’s just, in case you hadn’t noticed, the lid has been off the rationality container for some time now. One of these ‘crack-pot’ ideas may just cause a giant to falter.

    Out of the ashes so to speak.

  33. #51 by Larry Bergan on June 5, 2014 - 9:51 pm


    What in the heck is that contraption? some kind of a weird horn-o-plenty? What if a bird flew in there? Hell, what if an electric blanket got caught in it?

    Those are the kinds of arguments I would expect from you, concerning your link.

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