Saturday, April 8, 2017

But it looks cool, and we get to virtue signal our green bona fides. Thanks, Al Gore.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.
On March 29th, the solar road panels generated 0.26 kWh, or less electricity than a single plasma television consumes. On March 31st, the panels generated 1.06 kWh, enough to barely power a single microwave. The panels have been under-performing their expectations due to design flaws, but even if they had worked perfectly they’d have only powered a single water fountain and the lights in a nearby restroom.
Solar Roadways has been in development for 6.5 years and received a total of $4.3 million in funding to generate 90 cents worth of electricity.


  1. 1.3 - 1.4 W/M^2 hit the surface of the earth, depending on the time of year.

    You need a very large area to generate a useful amount of energy. Much of that 'Solar Roadway' is shaded by trees, but you have to factor in that conversion of light energy to electrical energy is only about 16% efficient, maybe with new technology pushing 20%, then you have to convert that electrical energy into useful volts and current, you lose more energy in that process.

    Now factor in the R&D cost, the cost of laying and maintaining the road - going to be substantially greater than a regular tar-macadam road surface.

    And at the end of the day you probably shouldn't have bothered. These calculations could have been made out there in the concept phase of this project, in a private funded project it would have been. Only a Jeff Bezos or a Mark Zuckerburger with too much money would consider something like this.

    1. It's virtue signaling, at public expense, plain and simple. A working man or woman had to get up at 6am, go to work, earn pay, and then give some of it up to the government, just so they could up and waste it like this. Telephone pole and rope time.

  2. You know that the taxpayers funded this boondoggle.

  3. To date, SolarCity (Tesla roof) is the only one that intrigues me. First, it's on the roof (duh), out of the way of normal wear and tear (I mean a ROAD SURFACE for Gods sake!), it's less likely to be shaded, it can be retrofitted when a normal roof has to replaced anyway, and will be offered in several architectural styles. Yes, the efficiency isn't near what it could be, but you have to start somewhere. And yes, I would worry about it being in a hailstorm.