Solar roads in France

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Plazma Inferno!, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    France plans to cover 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of roads with solar panels. A 1-kilometer segment of the surface, called Wattway, can generate enough power for a town of 5,000 people. This means the energy-generating road surfaces could provide power for as much as 8% of the French population, or about 5 million people.
    Installing the solar-panel surface over the 621 miles of existing roads is expected to take five years. The surface is 7 mm thick, or about a quarter inch, and has photovoltaic cells arranged like tiles in a polycrystalline silicon layer that is applied directly to the road. The panels should be strong enough to support fully-loaded trucks and provide the same amount of traction as asphalt. Testing on the solar-panel road surface is expected to begin in the spring.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/tec...ce-planning-over-600-miles-solar-panel-roads/
     
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  3. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    I wonder about the surface. Dust and small sand particles, together with the rolling tires work like sand paper and will dull the surface. Did they consider this in the calculation, how much energy the wattway can produce?

    I had heard of this idea before, but I had doubts. I still have doubts, but good to see that a pilot project is underway, so we can learn if this works, and how well it works.

    What are those silver bricks shown in the photo in the article?

    Furthermore, how's breaking on those tiles, if they are wet? I have doubts in the "same amount of traction", if the photo shows the real rod surface. It rather looks quite slippery.

    Edit:

    O rly? They are building it, without having even a coarse idea what it will cost? I hope this is a mininterpretation, and the article means cost of maintenance or such, which can't be estimated well? I have a hard time that a country decides to build something without an idea what it will cost - tax payers? Return of investement? Umm ?!?!

    Edit 2:

    This actually deems me a better idea. The wear on the surface is lower, it won't dull as quickly, and the panels can be kept thinner since no many-ton-heavy trucks are rolling over them all day. Naively, I'd say, reap the low hanging fruits first, go for solar lids on artifical lakes and other reservoirs (reduces water loss by evaporation, too), and when those locations are used up, try roads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Dumb. Roads don't last long and are often covered with dirt, rubber, debris etc.

    If you really want to convert roads to solar then put solar OVER the road. It will help protect the road from weather and wear and be far cheaper than putting them _in_ the road.
     
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Of all the surfaces available for solar collection, I would think that roads are one of the last that should be considered.
     
  8. ajanta Registered Senior Member

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    Why they don't use those solar panels as roof on roads ?
     
  9. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Construction costs is my guess. Covering or "paving" may be cheaper than building roofs above the roads or even tunnels covered in solar panels.
     
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  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I somehow doubt that these Frenchmen will be so stupid that they have not considered that.

    My guess (taking into account the drawing in the article) is that it may be for quiet residential cul-de-sac roads. There is a lot of "wasted" area in such types of roadway usage and it may well be that the surface of these can retain their transparency for quite a few years. But the article is, as so often, unsatisfactory in that this relatively obvious snag is not even discussed. Honestly I think I could a better job than many of these science journalists.
     
  11. ajanta Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks. I guessed about it and others too. But when we will drive cars on those roads so cars will on solar panels and those panels will not able to produce enough energy. When roads will busy with more cars then it will reduce energy producing by solar panels on roads.
     
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  12. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    How is "enough" defined here? The road will produce less energy the more it's shaded. But it seems for the designers it still is "enough" energy that they want to try the idea.

    But I, too, have doubts that roads are a good idea. But ideas must be tried, to see if they work. This pilot project will answer many questions, and the next one to make a decision how to use solar panels will be able to make it better, knowing the results of this project.
     
  13. ajanta Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks. But its really funny to me !
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    The average IQ, worldwide, is 100. Stupidity is as much a factor as intelligence in such decisions.
    That may be true. But quiet cul-de-sac roads have pretty serious issues with shading - and even more serious problems with road dirt.
     

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