'Solar highways' transform our crumbling infrastructure into something useful
Okay, we know YOU ride your bike everywhere. But the country’s 4 million miles of roads, and 50,000 miles of interstate highway, probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Isn’t there anything productive we can do with this giant car playground? Well, we can cover it with solar photovoltaic panels, so it’s at least providing some energy.
Oregon's already testing the idea, installing panel arrays along highway shoulders. Others want to embed the solar panels directly into the road surface, and have already received funding to test the idea. California wants to try it along parts of Route 101.
If you think about it, roads are a perfect place to put solar: They're already public land, they've already been cleared and graded, they're adjacent to infrastructure like towns and power lines, and they're super accessible for repair and upgrades. Also, they’re already sitting out in the sun all day.
Get Grist in your inbox