As the world runs out of fossil fuels, and America comes to terms with the need to rebuild its infrastructure, some have proposed an interesting solution that could kill two birds with one stone: solar roadways! Building roads out of solar panels is one of those ideas that seem to make so much sense that one wonders why it took so long for someone to come up with. But would it work? That is the question
Somers points out the things that make such a solution so attractive in the first place. However, she then points out the practical problems that stand in the way of possible implementation. The biggest problem is the cost. As Somers mentions, a combination road/solar panel needs to be made out of sturdy materials and high tech equipment. Furthermore, the cost of upkeep is a concern that can’t be ignored. Somers explores some interesting options, such as only using this technology for private roads and sidewalks, but Somers ultimately reaches the conclusion that the technology will need to be improved greatly before implantation can seriously be considered.
While Somers doesn’t get into hard numbers or science, the fact that this technology can be improved is hard to deny. This is troubling for those who are hoping that solar roadways could be put into place in the near future. The possibility of improvement is still there, but it will take time. If solar roadways are the future, there will need to be a considerable investment into research and development, not installation. Probably the biggest take away from this article is that the solutions that seem too good to be true often are, and that our problems will require more complex solutions. Which means putting more thought into them and not search for ways to fix too many problems at once.