Solar Roadways Aren't Worth the Investment

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by cageymaru, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Installing solar panels on roadways to generate electricity, fight climate change and create new revenue streams for countries was a bold idea a few years ago. France installed them on the Tourouvre-au-Perche highway and the early results from years of data logs are abysmal. Energy generated is only 50% of what it was supposed to generate and the road capacity factor, "which measures the efficiency of the technology by dividing its average power output by its potential maximum power output is just 4%." When compared to a solar plant that has the ability to track the sun as it moves across the sky, the roadway costs 10 times as much to build and generates only 1/3 of the power. Also it is pointed out in the article that there are only 2 billion square meters of roadway in the UK, but 17 billion square meters of rooftop in urban areas alone.

    Unable to benefit from air circulation, its inevitable these panels will heat up more than a rooftop solar panel too. For every 1C over optimum temperature you lose 0.5% of energy efficiency. As a result a significant drop in performance for a solar road, compared to rooftop solar panels, has to be expected.
     
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  2. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's how you waste billions on an experiment that minimal amounts of logic and reason shows to be complete nonsense. You don't even need any physics knowledge to demonstrate it.
     
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  3. Nukester

    Nukester [H]ard|Gawd

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    They can't even fix the damn pot holes around here. Good luck with solar cells..
     
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  4. gunbust3r

    gunbust3r Gawd

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    Duh, it was a solution in search of a problem.
     
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  5. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm sure they felt good wasting that money, though. We're in a postmodernist world where feels > reals.
     
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  6. dangerouseddy

    dangerouseddy Gawd

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    tarmac the roads and stick solar panels in fields or on roofs, so much more efficient and cost effective. so many youtube videos explaining what a pile of crap solar roadways are.
     
  7. oROEchimaru

    oROEchimaru [H]ardness Supreme

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    sometimes things work and sometimes things fail... gotta try
     
  8. Merc1138

    Merc1138 [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's as if putting solar panels where things are frequently covering them, they can't track the sun, get constantly dirty, and are easily damaged is a horrible idea. Who could have possibly have guessed the result?
    No, this did not need to be tried. If anything the people proposing it needed to have some sense slapped into them. In addition to all of the obvious problems my post sarcastically addresses above, there's the massively increased cost of production due to needing to produce panels that can stand up to being used as roadways and if you can produce panels with that sort of durability at a reasonable cost difference...

    THEY'D STILL BE BETTER OFF INSTALLED ON ROOF TOPS.
     
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  9. gunbust3r

    gunbust3r Gawd

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    No you don't "gotta try". It takes a solid 4 seconds of thought to figure out not to put your solar panel on the flat surface with the harshest duty cycle available...
     
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  10. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Fuck no, you don't try. First you think, then if it isn't obviously bullshit, then you do actual calculations using actual science. And then you publish your calculations to get peer reviews. And if it still makes sense after that, then you may start to look for funding to try it.

    It didn't fail, it was a completely stupid idea to begin with, eaten up by people with zero critical thinking skills.
     
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  11. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise Gawd

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    What I DO like are solar panels over parking areas. Cooler cars, someone making power - awesome.
     
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  12. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    it's ok they'll just find a way to fine google, apple, or microsoft to make the money back since that's how europe works.
     
  13. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thunderfoot and others called bullshit on these years ago since they were obvious bullshit to anyone who understood how photovoltaics from the start.
     
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  14. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    Failure is not a bad thing when trying out new ideas. Not every one of them will work. When one does it will more than pay for the others.

    Remember too that solar panels are dropping in price exponentially over time. What's not viable today could be viable in a few years time
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  15. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    That's a nice idea and all but feels has always been greater than reals. Look at whole language (phonics is better). Look at the climate 'debate' (yes global warming is human driven).
     
  16. gxp500

    gxp500 Gawd

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    No, it was a solution in search of funding.
     
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  17. Merc1138

    Merc1138 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes it is a bad thing, because the money and labor wasted on that crap could have been spent instead putting actually useful solar panels on public buildings. Not all ideas need to be implemented to determine whether or not they will be a complete failure, this is why critical thinking should be applied(and studies conducted) first.

    That was 5 million euros that could have been spent on solar installations that would have worked worth a damn.
     
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  18. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    Hate to break it to you, 5 million is a very small amount of money when it comes to governments. ;)
     
  19. CombatChrisNC

    CombatChrisNC Gawd

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    AMEN!

    Plus, charging cars while people shop or work. It's coming.
     
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  20. TordanGow

    TordanGow Limp Gawd

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    Pretty much this. This idea was stupid from the start.
     
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  21. Merc1138

    Merc1138 [H]ard|Gawd

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    It is, but it doesn't change the fact that it was a waste of money and time that anyone with half a brain could have told them from the start it wasn't worth the effort. The only thing this has accomplished is that proving an idea that was dumb to start with, turned out to be dumb.
     
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  22. gunbust3r

    gunbust3r Gawd

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    Downside lets mourn all the other "put it in the road" projects that may never see the light of day.

    ATM in the road!
    Slurpee machine in the road!
    Shoe shine station in the road!
    200 year old priceless Chinese porcelain storage in the road!
     
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  23. TordanGow

    TordanGow Limp Gawd

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    Next up: Deep sea solar panels! Makes just as much sense.

    Think about it. Self cleaning via ocean currents, England has lots of unused ocean areas, and it can be placed deep enough to not obstruct shipping!

    Yeah, there's no sun down there - but think of the potential!
     
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  24. Cyraxx

    Cyraxx [H]ardness Supreme

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    Solar FREAKIN Roadways!
     
  25. Cyraxx

    Cyraxx [H]ardness Supreme

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    Why are DEVELOPED nations the biggest morons? We have the smartest morons too albeit, but god damn we have people that do some of the dumbest shit....
     
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  26. StoleMyOwnCar

    StoleMyOwnCar 2[H]4U

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    So like.... they couldn't have just created a very small sample section of road and simulated certain frequencies of traffic going over it (with a moving crane arm or just turning off the panels briefly, or something) and then extrapolated from there to figure out what the energy production was going to be, how durable it would be, etc? I'm just trying to figure out how much homework they actually did. I didn't follow this when they started. If they didn't at least do what I pointed out, then obviously they're really bad at this and they should just stop.
     
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  27. BB Gun

    BB Gun [H]ard|Gawd

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    File this under no-shit sherlock.

    Merk1138 and M76 are completely correct on this.

    It's called technical analysis and opportunity cost.

    BB
     
  28. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    The fact is that you don't even need to get into efficiency and tracking of the sun, coverage and grime and such things that need 2 seconds of thinking.

    First and foremost, it is a solution to a non-existent problem! The expansion of solar power isn't hindered by lack of areas where you could put up panels. As the article says we have much more rooftop space than we have road areas.
     
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  29. knowom

    knowom Limp Gawd

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    Self defeating when the cars themselves block the sun they have to be abysmal during heavy traffic due to that alone. Why the hell didn't they just build them along the side of he roads instead or along telephone lines. This idea is just dumb in so many ways it's pathetic it got approved they didn't think this thru at all they shoved it thru and created something mostly ineffective big shocker.
     
  30. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    Solar roadways are a fantastic idea if they cost close to the same as asphalt. Like, a truly great idea.
     
  31. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise Gawd

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    Everyone envisions something which isn't physically realizable. The system which didn't really cost anything, magically makes power in perpetuity without real-world concerns. Clean power, people singing kumbayaa, birds singing and a man with a monocle and a top hat and bags of coal screaming "NOOOOOO".
     
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  32. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    No. Actually you don't.

    Because simple back of the napkin energy calculations pointed to it being a total waste of time FROM THE GET GO.

    Sub-optimal angle of installation.
    Surface grime issues.
    Density issues.
    Durability issues.
    Traction issues.
    Unitized replacement issues.
    Visibility issues.

    All of this was brought up multiple times, in multiple places.
    But nah. Nathan Filion thinks it's a cool idea. So let's do it!
     
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  33. Merc1138

    Merc1138 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The trenching, ducting, cabling, etc. requirements alone likely ruin that and that's not even getting to the panels themselves yet vs asphalt... and you still need the road bed underneath for the panels to sit on anyway. So you've already increased the cost of the constructing the road bed, assuming that you managed to produce solar panels as cheap as tar + sand and gravel(which isn't going to happen in our lifetime).

    But let's say we did manage to produce solar panels as cheap as asphalt(or hell, even triple or double the cost of asphalt). You know where it would still make more sense to put those incredibly cheap panels?

    ROOFTOPS
     
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  34. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yep!
     
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  35. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    No, failure isn't a Bad Thing.

    Roping in suckers in the private sector (GoFundMe, etc) and accepting government money for this crap, which was ALWAYS going to fail, however, *IS* a Bad Thing.
     
  36. Joust

    Joust Gawd

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    I think this is a terrible analysis. It's like needing to transport goods to China in bulk, fast, and cheap. Ok - first we need to assume we have a high speed rail bridge that's 8,000 miles long - and then our transportation will be awesome! Clearly this is the solution.
     
  37. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    And solar roadways ARE NEVER GOING TO BE VIABLE.

    They could be 100% efficient and as close to indestructible as human technology could make them, with pennies-on-the-dollar unit costs and throwing them down on a road surface will still be THE single dumbest thing you could do with them.
     
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  38. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's still solid gold hammers. (AKA money wasted)
     
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  39. Merc1138

    Merc1138 [H]ard|Gawd

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    It amazes me that even on hardocp of all places, there are people who post here that can't grasp why this was a fundamentally terrible idea from the get-go. Even with fantasy assumptions about the eventual cost of solar panels, it still makes no damn sense, but they just keep on.
     
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  40. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    Because you have a higher quotient of people who think that the fact that they have an education means they're "smart".

    It doesn't.

    It simply means they were "smart enough" not to drop out, and indicates nothing beyond that.
     
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