Solar road is ‘total and epic’ failure, 83% of its panels break in a week

Roughly 25 out of 30 panels installed in a prototype solar road in Idaho broke within a week, after the project received $3.9 million in funding and 6.5 years of development.

Despite massive internet hype, the prototype of the solar “road” can’t be driven on, hasn’t generate any electricity and 75 percent of the panels were broken before they were even installed. Of the panels installed to make a “solar footpath,” 18 of the 30 were dead on arrival due to a manufacturing failure. A short rain shower caused another four panels to fail, and only five panels appear to be presently functional. The prototype appears to be plagued by drainage issues, poor manufacturing controls and fundamental design flaws.

Every single promise made about the prototype seems to have fallen flat Daily Caller  New Foundationand the project appears to be a “total and epic failure,” according to an electrical engineer.

If it had worked, the panels would have powered a single water fountain and the lights in a restroom, after more than $500,000  in installation costs provided by a grant from the state government. The U.S. Department of Transportation initially handed $750,000 in grants to fund the research into the scheme, then invested another pair of grants worth $850,000 into it. The plan, dubbed, “Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways” raised another $2.2 million dollars in crowd-funding, even though several scientists publicly debunked the idea.

Scientists repeatedly criticized the scheme as panels on roads wouldn’t be tilted to follow the sun, which makes them incredibly inefficient, would often be covered by cars during periods when the sun is out and wouldn’t be capable of serving as a road for long.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has received fawning coverage in The Huffington Post, Nature World News, Newsweek, Wired, Ecowatch and National Geographic. The program was supported by political leaders like Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo.

Covering the road with solar panels would also be exceedingly destructive to the power grid, which is set up to handle conventional energy. In order for any power grid to function, demand for energy must exactly match supply. Power demand is relatively predictable and nuclear plants can adjust output accordingly. Solar power of any type cannot easily adjust output and is thus unpredictable relative to conventional systems.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller.

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About the Author: Andrew Follett

Andrew Follett covers energy and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  • KevinK

    WOW,,, who knew that driving cars over the equivalent of fine bone china might break them ???

    Show of hands, who puts their dining plates out in the driveway and parks their cars on them ? Ok, another show of hands, who eats only on paper plates ???

    Probably the same hands going up in both polls……

    You can’t fix stupid….

    Cheers, KevinK

    • Richard Werkhoven

      Fine bone china?

      Nope!!

      Do you have any idea what impacts a regular solar panel is built to handle?

      Let alone these ones with significant glass on top!

  • Curious: all we know about this road is that it was somewhere in Idaho. Aside from the cost of under $4 million, there is nothing more specific about who or what organization built it, the history of the project or if this project has been complete.
    Anyone want to run this by an undergraduate journalism instructor to see if it is missing anything else?

    • Dano2

      to see if it is missing anything else?

      Not missing dog whistles, surely.

      Best,

      D

    • Pooua

      I take it from your comments that you haven’t watched Thunderf00t’s video on the project. Here’s a live webcam of the installation in Jeff Jones Square in Sandpoint, Idaho:

      http://www.cityofsandpoint.com/visiting-sandpoint/solar-roadways#ad-image-0

      Here’s Thunderf00t’s video on the installation:

      https://youtu.be/3pIfo1Dynjg

      • Thunderf00t’s video serves what purpose aside from giving him a platform to spray his contrarian petulance all over the internet?

        • Pooua

          It provides those details that you mentioned are missing in the original article.

          • Yet it’s dubious if it serves to support the effective deployment of solar energy, which is what is needed.

            • Pooua

              I would think that exposing an ineffective program that siphons millions of dollars that could be used effectively for solar deployment–had that money not been siphoned away by this failure–would be sufficient reason to consider it. It would be good if people were more critical of their own bright ideas.

  • Dano2

    This laughable…erm…piece….lacking hyperlinks like the original is laughable.

    I can see the installation on a live webcam, and it is working fine and is clearly not intended to be driven upon. The rest of Andrew’s breathless hokum appears to be utterly baseless. Standard Follett fare.

    Best,

    D

    • Pooua

      An objective person must admit that lampooning Solar Roadways is striking very low-hanging fruit.

      The live webcam shows that only seven of the thirty panels installed are functional. Sometimes eight panels work, but one of them keeps going out when it rains and now looks dead.

      • Richard Werkhoven

        What you can see from the webcam is LEDs.

        You can’t actually see the solar panels functioning or not.

        So actually you can tell not much about the functioning of the panels.

        So when you say objective you need to be objective. Try again.

        Again: This article is useless and biased.

        • Pooua

          Solar Roadways already said when this installation was opened that none of the solar panels were working, due to a problem with their laminating machine. They also said that all the panels around the perimeter of the installation are non-functional. So, all we have are the LEDs of the remaining eight panels.

          • Richard Werkhoven

            And how much to develop a gas generator product?

            Stop with the insane comparisons

            • Pooua

              Stop making excuses for an overpriced product that is ill-conceived in the first place. The fact that we could find any number of vastly less-expensive ways of paving this plaza and our roads means this product is not competitive, and claiming that this is just research costs is mere fantasy.

              • Richard Werkhoven

                It’s not a product. It has no price.

                You are pretending that a coat of establishing a production process is somehow a unit price based on production samples representing total future output at a few thousandth of that output.

                You are either an idiot or a disinformation agent.

                • Pooua

                  Do you have any justification for your rosy claims, or do you just like arguing as an idiot?

                  Only an idiot would spend $4 million on such a stupid idea. We didn’t have to spend anything to know that this is a horrible idea. The reasons are many.

                  Many municipalities are struggling to afford conventional concrete and asphalt roads. How do you imagine we would be able to afford even more expensive solar roadways?

                  Glass is more hazardous than asphalt, because glass shatters easily–usually into sharp fragments, whereas asphalt usually stays put or forms small pebbles. Glass is soft, and deforms and scratches easily. Glass is expensive.

                  Why are you so infatuated with putting solar panels on the ground, where they are the least effective, when those panels could just as easily be put on roof tops for the same amount of money or less?

      • Richard Werkhoven

        “Any objective person must” is great framing. Well done you for denying any ability for rational debate.

        • Pooua

          What is your deal, man? Do you just get turned on any time someone says solar?

    • Jeremy Tarone

      The link to the youtube video takes you to the spot where there are many links. If it’s not meant to be driven on, and it’s already failing, don’t you think there is a severe problem? Four million dollars for a small stretch that’s not usable. What a waste of money.

      • Dano2

        Congratulations, you’ve just refudiated every argument against R&D. We can spend our money on a bacchinal instead.

        Best,

        D

        • Pooua

          Good engineers find the least expensive ways of testing their concepts. We do not need millions of dollars to find the flaws in Solar Roadways. Those flaws are blazingly obvious to anyone with even a basic understanding of the technologies involved.

          • Dano2

            So testing in a pedestrian area first is not the least expensive way? What is, pray tell?

            Best,

            D

            • Pooua

              Oh, I don’t know… maybe outside their work shop at home? Could they do that? I mean, they’ve had their panels featured there in their publicity videos for the last few years. They’ve just never bothered hooking up a voltmeter to them while on camera. Either way, though, it does not cost $4 million to figure out how to make a dozen solar sidewalk panels. It does not cost millions of dollars to figure out that objects on the ground are not going to get as much sunlight as objects on rooftops. It does not cost millions of dollars to figure out that it takes a lot more than 44 watts to melt the ice and snow that normally accumulates on sidewalk panels in Idaho. It does not cost millions of dollars to figure out that you can’t see LEDs on the ground in daylight. And, it does not cost millions of dollars to figure out that a metal-and-tempered glass box full of electronics is going to cost a lot more than plain old concrete and asphalt.

              • Dano2

                Look, I chuckled at the solar bike path in the Netherlands. Clearly there are better applications for solar collectors.

                The point is that Follett made up some sh– that made this column laughable. And the editors here couldn’t be bothered to check if they’d be embarrassed by the laughable Follett.

                Best,

                D

  • CodeTech

    Fine – if you don’t like Thunderf00t’s video, watch EEVblog’s video
    https://youtu.be/GtkbioiQHmA

  • Thruppennybit

    Hardly a failure. They’ve relieved the stupid of $3.9m

  • Dr. A. Cannara

    Duh.

  • 0bsoleteMan

    This project is so stupid that it must have been taxpayer funded.

    • Geoffrey Laxton

      Don’t forget that tax payers fund the government infrastructure that allows corporations to profit from their business lines. Care to elaborate on how stupid that is?

      • 0bsoleteMan

        You really believe that if government didn’t build things like roads that they’d never get built?

        And if there are potholes that need filling or streets that are in disrepair why is government wasting money on this nonsense?

  • Mark McCoy

    How about we try something called piezoelectric roads?

  • Erica Kensho

    Taxpayers should get out the pitchforks and torches! These people were con artists, plain and simple.

  • Richard Werkhoven

    Wouldn’t be tilted? You know they often aren’t tilted.

    This is rubbish journalism. The quote from an unnamed engineer etc.

    This is not journalism

    • Xgxjxfvcx

      Agreed. Poor writing quality, and the content is very poorly presented.

    • Timothy53

      And yet the facts speak for them self.

      • Richard Werkhoven

        What facts?

        Speak how?

        No the interpretation of a test installation provides data.

        Examination of the failed panels will provide more data.

        That data either indicates some issues in design/manufacture/installation to be addressed or indicates something unlikely like the project is a mistake.

        I say that’s unlikely because there are other such projects that are a success.

        There are solar panels embedded in bike paths etc. that are working fine.

        • Timothy53

          Facts? How about the fact that this installation is an utter failure. The tiles are breaking and failing left and right.

          Unless of course the actual goal was to separate the taxpayer from their money, then it is a resounding success.

        • Timothy53

          Name one that is a success. And not the failure of the 100 meters of bike path in the Netherlands. It produced exactly as little power as simple back of the envelope calculations showed it would before the panels began to fail.

          • Richard Werkhoven

            Failure in the Netherlands? Not on the reports I have.

            And no it produced more energy than expected.

            Quit the disinfo – it makes you look stupid and you aren’t going to stop the work progressing with your nonsense.

            It’s too late. Get a new hobby.

  • Richard Werkhoven

    there are trials of Solar bike paths and the only issue they have is getting the non-slip surface right.

    You think something like this trial is not expected to discover issues and allow them to be resolved?

    Any of you lot ever done product development?

    Or just whinged when the future interferes with your conspiracy theories and whinges about governmint?

    And of course the usual misinformation about solar and renewables cause they may not blow enough smoke or make enough noise to allow you to pretend the engine is your manhoods?

    • John Sabotta

      You are such a progressive, open-minded fellow, so unlike those narrow-minded right wingers who sneer, in their typical mean spirited way, at this noble, cutting edge project!

      But since you are such a believer in this amazing technological breakthrough, let me ask you; why havn’t you invested your life savings in it? Did you participate in the fundraising for it? How much money have you put into it? Surely a intellectual giant like yourself knows a sure thing when you see it?

      Or maybe you’re just another lying liberal hypocrite, perfectly happy to throw other people’s tax money away on rubbish. (Of course, I have no objection if people want to voluntarily invest in this idiocy, and most of the investors are presumably liberals, money they put into solar roadways will be unavailable to them for donations to various malign political causes)

      My apologies if you actually did invest in solar roadways; in that case I was very wrong to call you a hypocrite – you’d just be an idiot.

      • Richard Werkhoven

        No I didn’t invest.

        The problem here is that this article is not information of any quality as to the actual outcome of the test.

        It’s useless to judge if the test was a success or failure.

        From what I can tell by doing some research they have had some issues with the panels in some way. But hey I see similar installations of lighting without solar panels with the same level of failure.

        This thing was a test of a small number of panels. It was an early test.

        Surely the fact that it failed to the same level as I have seen commercial installations of actual (non-solar) products fail is not an indication of the concept being bad.

        The snarky remark about the level of power output is a joke surely? It’s hardly relevant considering the scale of deployment against the actual scale these would be used at. As such it’s just an attack.

        You sir are clearly a warrior for a political cause.

        I am after the facts here and this article does not attempt to find them.

        This test from what I can tell on the available information does not indicate the project is overall a failure.

        Maybe it is but this is not providing that information, even though it tries to pretend that it does.

    • Pooua

      I think the fact that the solar bike path in The Netherlands cost $3.7 million to produce enough power for a single house is an issue.

      • Richard Werkhoven

        And it didn’t.

        What do you think it costs to produce a test iPhone? Something like a billion dollars.

        Same goes for the first 20 sample units – total cost around a billion dollars.

        Then it doesn’t cost that much.

        You don’t count the cost of the test installation as the cost of production. That’s ridiculous.

        • Pooua

          “What do you think it costs to produce a test iPhone? Something like a billion dollars.”

          You are out of your mind! *I* could put together a test smart phone for $1000 or less! Apple would do a lot more testing, but it still wouldn’t cost them very many millions, or they would never do this. You really think it costs as much to put together a $500 smartphone as it does a new pharmaceutical drug?!

          But, OK, so it costs a billion dollars to make a new cell phone. So what? A solar road is not built at all like a cell phone. Your fantasy that everything follows a Moore’s Law type of price reduction, or a economy of scale price reduction, is nonsense! You are never going to get a metal and tempered glass box that is packed full of electronics to cost as little as plain old concrete and asphalt!

          • Richard Werkhoven

            Yes it costs about that much to produce a quality phone.

            You can do a poor quality phone prototype for less because someone else already did the R&D

            Samsung rushed a phone to market and look what happened?

            Yeah sure asphalt is cheaper in the same way that not producing anything is cheaper than doing something.

            Its cheaper for drug companies to sell sugar pills.

            It’s cheaper not to go to work. You’ll save on transportation

            • Pooua

              “Yes it costs about that much to produce a quality phone.”

              Prove it.

    • Timothy53

      I have done product development.

      The people didn’t do any of their homework. There is an easier and more efficient way to cover all of Americas roadways and parking lots with solar panels. Put up frames that angle the panels toward the sun for better efficiency.

      I have done enough product development to have thought this was a joke when someone sent it to me. Then u did the math. It’s not ever going to be a thing. Ever.

      • Richard Werkhoven

        Well then you’re a little sill aren’t you.

        Because they did the numbers also. I have seen them at some stage.

        Putting up frames over the roadways is much less practical assuming you can solve the issues with the road surface method.

        Question is can you.

        • Timothy53

          Any discussion with you is useless because you don’t want the facts. Laying the glass tiles flat is THE issue.

          Since you have never done product development much less deployment, you have no clue what kind of development is required before you even get to this stage.

          This is an adult conversation.

          • Richard Werkhoven

            No it’s not the issue you think.

            Angling solar panels reduces their solar insolation in summer to increase it in winter.

            The usual recommendation is to angle them towards the winter path of the sun. This is not always the right advice.

            There are places where the electricity utilities are requesting that instead of doing this the panels are to be angled to the west to increase the afternoon solar production rather than the midday winter solar production.

            Solar panels work fine when flat.

            Solar installations up till now have required all panels to be in the sun at the same time as any panel in the shade or lower sunlight would cause a loss of output of the whole lot feeding the inverter.

            Therefore angling panels for different times of the day and different times of the year has been not advisable in home installations.

            These days there are better answers such as power optimisers on each panel or micro-inverters on each panel.

            These solve the problem of one panel dragging down the whole lot.

            So now you can place panels as appropriate to customise the output profile.

            There is a solar installation going in across from me for a multi-national private company’s own use mainly. It is a 426kWh system.

            The panel angle is determined purely by the existing structure being used to hold the panels. The panels are not angled as per the efficiency requirements that you think are critical to such a project.

            Now this is not a government rip-off, nor a fraud or scam, it’s a multi-national company rolling out just one of many, many solar installations worldwide.

            They do not see the need to do what you think is necessary for this project.

            Now the thing is that a grid is not a single home. Feeding a grid does not have the same economics as getting maximum total kWh feeding into a fixed tariff and not worrying about demand profiles.

            The other thing is that you may not have noticed this but overall the roads are not flat, some go up hills, some are cambered to go around bends.

            The effect of rolling out a lot of solar roadways will be a mix of different angled panels.

            And a mix of different angled panels is exactly what is needed to achieve an output profile across the day and across a year.

            So no if you want an adult discussion then move on from the solar kindergarten to the current technology.

            I could have thrown the physics of illumination and irradiance at you – which I did study in the 80’s. I will if that helps.

            • Pooua

              You like babbling nonsense. Laying solar panels on the ground loses 70% of the sunlight they would have received if they had been mounted on a pivot that always points towards Sun. That’s just geometry. Solar panels cost a lot more than concrete and asphalt, so much so that we would bankrupt the nation before we could pave our roads in solar panels.

              • Richard Werkhoven

                Almost no solar PV installation uses pivots and trackers as they are not worth the added expense and complexity.

                Yes many use fixed frames angled to increase exposure in winter or go for the correctly angled roof side. (North in my area)

                And yes the central receiving solar thermal stations use tracking heliostats to reflect the sun at a tower but not PV.

                Also there are PV systems that track using a parabolic mirror or heliostats to use minimal PV cells but they need cooling systems, these are fairly new tech.

                Seriously dude do some research on what the world is actually doing already and why.

                • Pooua

                  Actually, just about all commercial PV installations–those intended to produce electricity for commercial resale–use trackers. Individual home owners don’t, because that would be a lot more weight on your roof that would have to be reinforced, and, yes, the expense of such a small installation would be too large. Even so, I can tell you from my asking solar panel companies to work on my house that if you don’t have adequate southern exposure without trees or other buildings getting in the way, they won’t even install the panels.

                  • Richard Werkhoven

                    Incorrect

                    • Pooua

                      Prove it! You keep making these stupid claims without any evidence!

                    • Richard Werkhoven

                      You claimed the design flaw you provide the evidence that it’s not possible without frames.

                      Or in other words go sea lion yourself thanks

                    • Pooua

                      I didn’t say anything about frames.

                      What I say is that this project is not practical. It is too expensive and too fragile and too dangerous to see practical use, and these failings are fundamental to the materials being used.

                    • Richard Werkhoven

                      LOL

                      Right when Tesla is announcing Glass solar roof tiles cause they are stronger than the alternatives.

                      Frames & trackers is part of the conversation on here as a whole.

                      Putting them flat vs using a tilted frame vs using trackers – if you read the whole discussion here and not just this thread.

                      So effectively you did. But you didn’t expect that word.

                      The thing that needs to be established is will the glass tiles stand up to road use.

                      This test so far does not much to establish that either way.

                      All it shows is that their first production samples are not right yet.

                      This is not unusual when you are establishing a factory to build anything like this.

                      But do not make the mistake of thinking that solar panels in general are fragile things, they are not. I’ve seen the impact testing.

                      The issues here are different to roof mounting, sure. They are under constant heavy loads. I have no reason yet to assume that this is not achievable with the right glass.

                      Maybe it will turn out not to be achievable and maybe it’ll turn out to be achievable but beyond the solar roadways people.

                      But the nonsense being sprouted here to claim it’s a failure is just that, nonsense!

                      The costing argument of $4 bil for a small display is the most egregious nonsense ever and clearly just nastiness and misinformation.

                      The materials argument is yet to be established, and the test here shows no sign of the glass cracking, so to that end there is no data here to support the materials argument.

                      The best claim made is that the lamination failed. Well that’s hardly surprising in establishing a new manufacturing process.

                      I’d go so far as to say that even if these panels are stunningly successful they will likely have the occasional de-lamination as it’s not unusual for any lamination process to experience that from time to time.

                      LED failure is something I often see in every LED luminaire, LED power supply failure is also common. There is a lot of bad design in LED lighting by either over-driving the LED or having a switch mode supply design fault. I have the front porch light doing the flash of death right now. (I’ll fix it one day)

                      Mind you I see more HID & Mercury vapour globes doing constant restarts than I see LEDS.

                      So yeah I’m going on a bit – point being that R&D & manufacturing isn’t without it’s issues. Even in established and widely used products in related fields.

                      So this claim that hey a first sample run isn’t working and is $4 mil worth wasted is a waste of more time and money than anything solar roadways is possibly doing wrong.

                      Now admit it – you really don’t know what will happen next, and you are worried it may work before it gets killed!

                    • Pooua

                      “Right when Tesla is announcing Glass solar roof tiles cause they are stronger than the alternatives.”

                      What do you think that establishes? Tesla is putting their product on a roof, not flat on the ground, much less flat on a road. That makes a world of difference! Practically everything that is wrong about Solar Road is because it is on the road! It’s only a minor point that Tesla’s solar shingles might fail, too. Practically all solar roof shingle companies to this point have failed.

                      “Putting them flat vs using a tilted frame vs using trackers – if you read the whole discussion here and not just this thread.

                      “So effectively you did. But you didn’t expect that word.”

                      I don’t know what point you are trying to make here, or what word you think I didn’t expect. You haven’t justified the 66% loss in power that flat-on-the-ground solar panels automatically get by not pointing at the sun. You just gloss over it, as if it’s fun to throw away money.

                      “The thing that needs to be established is will the glass tiles stand up to road use.”

                      And the way to do that is to install them in a plaza next to a fountain? (Hint: No, that isn’t how it would be done.)

                      “This test so far does not much to establish that either way.”

                      This test is never going to show that these tiles are durable enough for the roads. A few people walking over them is not at all the same as years of road traffic driving over them.

                      “All it shows is that their first production samples are not right yet.”

                      It shows that the company that makes them is incompetent.

                      “This is not unusual when you are establishing a factory to build anything like this.”

                      You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

                      “But do not make the mistake of thinking that solar panels in general are fragile things, they are not. I’ve seen the impact testing.”

                      Considering that you know nothing, your observation means nothing.

                      “The issues here are different to roof mounting, sure. They are under constant heavy loads. I have no reason yet to assume that this is not achievable with the right glass.”

                      That’s a stupid reply. The correct way of thinking is that you should demand evidence that the required durability IS ACHIEVABLE with the right glass, not to keep throwing money to test each of the infinite number of possible types of glass until one is found that works. Someone who does the latter is incompetent as an engineer, and a sucker as a donor.

                      “Maybe it will turn out not to be achievable and maybe it’ll turn out to be achievable but beyond the solar roadways people.”

                      You don’t know a thing about engineering, and you are too dangerously ignorant to be allowed to vote on project funding.

                      “The costing argument of $4 bil for a small display is the most egregious nonsense ever and clearly just nastiness and misinformation.”

                      It’s $4 million, not $4 billion, but this is a waste of money in either case.

                      “The materials argument is yet to be established, and the test here shows no sign of the glass cracking, so to that end there is no data here to support the materials argument.”

                      To that end, this test is irrelevant. It’s just a waste of money on a vanity display.

                      “The best claim made is that the lamination failed. Well that’s hardly surprising in establishing a new manufacturing process.”

                      What is unusual is the reason the lamination failed. It failed because the Solar Road people waited until the night before the panels were supposed to be installed before they fired up their laminating machine and assembled the panels for the display they were supposed to install the next morning. That put them in such a rush that they overloaded the oven, doubling the amount of time needed for it to reach the correct temperature. Then, they overheated the panels in the laminating machine. The leads pulled out of the panels, causing them to stop working. These people had six years to assemble these panels, but they waited until the night before the installation to begin cranking these out. I’m sure you don’t see anything wrong with doing that, but this is unprofessional.

                      “I’d go so far as to say that even if these panels are stunningly successful they will likely have the occasional de-lamination as it’s not unusual for any lamination process to experience that from time to time.”

                      Again, you are just babbling nonsense. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

                      “LED failure is something I often see in every LED luminaire, LED power supply failure is also common. There is a lot of bad design in LED lighting by either over-driving the LED or having a switch mode supply design fault. I have the front porch light doing the flash of death
                      right now. (I’ll fix it one day)”

                      That should tell you that using LEDs for roadways is a horrible idea. Of course, you aren’t going to make that connection.

                      “Mind you I see more HID & Mercury vapour globes doing constant restarts than I see LEDS.”

                      Coming from you, that means nothing. I’ll just point out that HID and mercury vapor lights have been highly reliable, high-intensity lights for industrial applications for most of a century. That’s with them suspended up high, in protective enclosures, not down in the road, with traffic driving over them.

                      “So yeah I’m going on a bit – point being that R&D & manufacturing isn’t without it’s issues. Even in established and widely used products in related fields.”

                      Irrelevant. Bad engineering is bad engineering, and you can’t brush that aside as being typical of R&D.

                      “So this claim that hey a first sample run isn’t working and is $4 mil worth wasted is a waste of more time and money
                      than anything solar roadways is possibly doing wrong.”

                      Solar Roadways is a fraud. You are an idiot.

                      “Now admit it – you really don’t know what will happen next, and you are worried it may work before it gets killed!”

                      HAH! Even if these panels worked perfectly–which any competent engineer could make them work perfectly the first time, in less than a year, with less than $4 million–the concept of solar roadways would still be a horrible idea. They are too expensive and provide too little power for what they must cost, and cannot be durable enough to replace conventional roads.

                    • Richard Werkhoven

                      “any competent engineer could make them work perfectly the first time, in less than a year, with less than $4 million”

                      OK so they should be working and the problem is with the design/construction and not the concept. As far as working or not goes in the trial?

                      So it’s not a failure of concept we are seeing here.

                      And this trial does not therefore disprove the concept by counting panels out. GOOD!

                      Exactly my point.

                      Is failing LEDs bad engineering? Yes as I said.

                      It’s also typical of a lot of commercial products in use in high volumes to great effect. And therefore it’s typical.

                      First runs of a product like this failing due to something like lamination? Yes that’s typical of a lamination process being tweaked also. Should never get out of the factory though. should have been examined and either kept or trashed/recycled.

                      But as you say good engineering would have made these work – so it’s a production/design issue and not a concept issue here.

                      Yet you lot go on about that asa being proof of concept fail when it suits. Make your minds up.

                      “too little power for what they must cost” – and time to admit that’s not $4 mil and you don’t have a cost, just the figure you quote here which is rubbish and maybe a real figure you’ve attempted to calculate but don’t share because the missing suits your lie.

                      “and cannot be durable enough to replace conventional roads.” – We shall see – and as you have explained this is not how we see.

                      Yes glass tiles on a roof are not on the ground. They are also according to Tesla much stronger than roof tiles. Yet these glass solar tiles are quite thin. It’s just ironic that the timing matches up.

                      A product launch of a very thin glass tile that’s tested to withstand an impact that the thicker roof tiles can’t.

                      “if you don’t have adequate southern exposure without trees or other buildings getting in the way, they won’t even install the panels.” – because any shading on a panel will drop the output of the whole string by acting as a resistance.

                      The thing is that the newer technologies don’t suffer from this.

                      You can use micro-inverters, and that way every panel is a seperate system.

                      Or you can use power optimisers which mix each panel into the system in a way that avoids the drop and gets the best output overall.

                      Either of these technologies allow you to mix and match panel placement for best output across the day, rather than needing them all to be in full and equal sunlight at all times.

                      Many installers will still refuse to put panels in with shading, or to put the panels on different sides. That’s because they are selling you old technology.

                      As for angle – as I’ve said it’s about summer vs winter generally if you are placing all the panels at the same angle.

                      https://www.agl.com.au/about-agl/how-we-source-energy/renewable-energy/nyngan-solar-plant

                      Note this plant is “modules will be installed at a fixed (non-tracking) tilt, at a 25 degree angle, and will face north”

                      In that location the sun is north at midday. (other hemisphere to you apparently)

                      Tracking is not popular right now as it is just increased maintenance and expense and not worth the money.

                      Again – roadways are not all level. Some tilt at various angles and in various directions.

                      Which angle/direction is right changes through the day and through the year. A mix is good now that the technology allows it.

                      Also the newer technology will prevent the issues of shading of panels – which roadways will experience by the fact that they are roadways, and allow the benefit of the multiple angles.

                      Enough of your contradictory arguments and outdated and ill informed solar knowledge.

                    • Pooua

                      “OK so they should be working and the problem is with the
                      design/construction and not the concept.”

                      The problem right now is both the concept and the construction. A competent engineer could have delivered on the construction. Nothing is going to make this a viable idea as marketed, that is, laying silicon cells and LEDs on roads underneath vehicular traffic.

                      “So it’s not a failure of concept we are seeing here.”

                      Your desperation is obvious.

                      “And this trial does not therefore disprove the concept by counting panels out. GOOD!”

                      You are insane!

                      “Exactly my point.”

                      Obviously.

                      “Is failing LEDs bad engineering? Yes as I said.”

                      So is putting LEDs down the road as your only lane markers.

                      “It’s also typical of a lot of commercial products in use in high volumes to great effect. And therefore it’s typical.”

                      The only thing typical is your stubborn idiocy.

                      “Yet you lot go on about that asa being proof of concept fail when it suits. Make your minds up.”

                      You really never considered that it could be both? Wow.

                      “too little power for what they must cost” – and time to admit that’s not $4 mil and you don’t have a cost, just the figure you quote here which is rubbish and maybe a real figure you’ve attempted to calculate but don’t share because the missing suits your lie.”

                      I’m not calculating anything. That’s how much money Solar Roadways has sucked out of people and government agencies with this fiasco over the last six years. What we see here is the end product of all that money.

                      “Yes glass tiles on a roof are not on the ground.”

                      The tiles on the roof are angled, too. That significantly improves their efficiency.

                      “They are also according to Tesla much stronger than roof tiles.”

                      Irrelevant. Tesla doesn’t intend for anyone to drive on them, and nobody is suggesting that we should put roofing tiles on our roads.

                      “A product launch of a very thin glass tile that’s tested to withstand an impact that the thicker roof tiles can’t.”

                      Did you see either Tesla or Solar Roadways drive a bunch of trucks over these tiles for a few weeks? No? So, Tesla dropped a hand weight on a tile and theirs didn’t break. That’s not the same as a week’s worth of road traffic by a long shot. Let’s see someone drop a typical vehicle (one ton or greater) on these tiles for a week!

                      “if you don’t have adequate southern exposure without trees or other buildings getting in the way, they won’t even install the panels.” – because any shading on a panel will drop the output of the whole string by acting as a resistance.

                      You don’t think a solar roadway is going to have shaded areas?

                      “The thing is that the newer technologies don’t suffer from this.”

                      Name any company that installs solar panels in shaded areas. I haven’t found one, and I called all these guys with the latest technology in my area.

                      “Either of these technologies allow you to mix and match panel placement for best output across the day, rather than needing them all to be in full and equal sunlight at all times.”

                      If half your panels are in shade, your electricity just became twice as expensive. Also, it’s one thing to do this on a roof, where only a few panels are placed and where the load is just a short distance away, but entirely another thing to do it to millions of tiles that are hundreds of miles from the nearest power line.

                      “As for angle – as I’ve said it’s about summer vs winter generally if you are placing all the panels at the same angle.”

                      The angle is flat. Zero. Summer or Winter, laying a panel flat is going to be significantly less efficient than pointing it at the Sun.

                      “Note this plant is “modules will be installed at a fixed (non-tracking) tilt, at a 25 degree angle, and will face north”

                      “In that location the sun is north at midday. (other hemisphere to you apparently)”

                      A fixed, angled tilt is less efficient than a tracker, but still significantly more efficient than laying flat on the ground. The fixed, tilted panel loses only about 30% of the efficiency of the tracking module, whereas the tile flat on the ground loses 60%.

                      “Tracking is not popular right now as it is just increased maintenance and expense and not worth the money.”

                      Regardless, flat on the ground isn’t done by anyone selling electricity.

                      “Again – roadways are not all level. Some tilt at various angles and in various directions.”

                      So, the chances of a tile being pointed in the general direction of Sun are really slim.

                      “Which angle/direction is right changes through the day and through the year. A mix is good now that the technology allows it.”

                      You are insane! Sun follows a predictable East-West path, not just wandering randomly all over the sky. If the solar roadways are not angled toward that East-West path, they are losing what little energy their tiny solar cells could collect. A random mix of directions is even worse than just lying flat on the ground!

                • Pooua

                  What nobody in the industry does is lay their solar panels flat on the ground, as Solar Roadways does.

                  http://energypost.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Japan-solar.jpg

                  http://www.arbredespossibles.com/blog/Images/SolaireLesMees3.jpg

                  • Richard Werkhoven

                    And no vecause they are not building solar roads.

                    I remember when nobody took photos with their phone.

                    Also when nobody used solar.

                    So what!

                    • Pooua

                      Funny, all these companies that do this stuff for a living, generating megawatts or gigawatts of solar power all around the world, but none of them are putting them on roadways! Maybe that should tell you something!

  • Clay Cromer

    Yo mamas so fat ! When she drove on the solar road way.. she broke 83% of them !

  • Shadeburst

    There is a place for solar. For about forty years now, every space probe has been powered by solar, sometimes with backup by radioactive decay, and solar works pretty well for the international space station. Small villages in undeveloped countries can’t get electricity because of the huge cost of reticulation. Solar panels may only provide weak power for a few hours a day, but that allows villagers to recharge cellphones and access the internet. The price of solar energy per kWh is now claimed to be competitive with new baseload coal, and that may be true, Ivanpah notwithstanding. But due to its intermittent nature and unpredictability, even in sunny desert climates, it shouldn’t be part of a national grid.

    • Dano2

      But due to its intermittent nature and unpredictability, even in sunny desert climates, it shouldn’t be part of a national grid.

      You are a decade behind the times. Far too late for this wish.

      Best,

      D

  • Geoffrey Laxton

    Too bad that this article is terribly written.

  • Pooua