The future of solar panels: solar roadways
Posted on February 16, 2015 by fater81 • Posted in Writings of studens • Tagged Milestone, Solar, USA, Varga Marcell • Leave a comment
This is the title of an essay written by Marcell Varga, who was one of my students at Milestone Institute during the 2014-15 Winter Term. He found an interesting topic as the technology introduced below tries to give a good answer to some difficulties and challenges regarding the utilization of solar energy.
The future of solar panels – Solar roadways
When we’re talking about energy production and consumption nowadays, global warming is among the first topics that comes to one’s mind. Naturally, most people realise that the rate at which we’re burning up our fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long run. Despite this fact, the use of renewable energy sources is still not at a satisfactory level. This might be due to some of the drawbacks of these technologies, which only weigh out those of fossil fuels under a short period of time. Let’s take solar panels for example. Setting up our house with a couple of panels can be quite expensive, but it’s nothing more than an investment, as the costs will be returned by the money we save from the electricity bills. Another disadvantage can be the limitation to only use it when there’s sunlight, but storing energy is difficult, no matter what type of electricity we’re talking about. Some people also dislike the low effectiveness of solar cells, which requires them to cover a large surface. In most cases this problem is solved by putting the panel sin rooftops, because these areas wouldn’t be put to use otherwise. But there’s something else that takes up a huge area of our cities, and absorbs a lot of sunlight without taking advantage of it. I’m talking about roads.
It’s been estimated that covering every road in the United States with solar cells would generate three times as much energy as the country needs. Of course this is impossible with the panels currently available, because we need them to be a lot more durable. This is the problem that a couple in America seem to have solved. In 2006, Julia and Scott Brusaw started a project to create solar panels that can be used as pavement on roads. After several prototypes, their product was convincing enough to raise ove 2 million dollars in donations on the fundraiser site Indiegogo. In 2009 and 2011 they recieved $100,000 and $750,000 from the Department of Transformation as a Small Business Innovation Research grant. We can see that their invention is quite popular, but how does it work?
via The future of solar panels: solar roadways | Hunergy.