Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The first US solar road has been a real disaster

The solar roads have become a favorite project for those looking to generate more "green" energy, which is obvious if we look at all the benefits it can offer us have solar panels on the ground, whether sidewalks, small lanes, or an entire road. However, many have expressed their doubts about this type of project, and today we have one of those examples that make us question its feasibility.

In May 2014 Solar Roadways, an ambitious project that sought to manufacture the first solar road in the United States, and America, was unveiled. The first stage of the road was inaugurated in October 2016, and today it is already known as the biggest failure of the country, because it is not generating any energy and 83% of its panels are already broken.

Almost 6 million dollars in investment
We have already seen successful solar road projects, for example SolarRoad in Holland or the RD5 route project in France, projects that were born after Solar Roadways, and have brought new ideas to this type of developments. But the case of Solar Roadways is unique and peculiar, since it is a great case to know how to sell something that has not been tested in real conditions.

Solar Roadways was launched in 2014 as an Indiegogo project after its creators, the pair formed by Scott and Julie Brusaw, rode in the square of their garage with these attractions, and made by themselves, solar hexagons. The financing campaign promised to install these panels on 417 kilometers of highway in the United States, mainly in the state of Missouri, which included some segments of the mythical route 66.

The campaign was a resounding success earning more than two million dollars, plus 750,000 in funding from the government, who also gave the authorization and permits, and three million more from various groups of private investors. In the following video you can see part of the campaign and the benefits they promised through these panels.

After more than two years of development Solar Roadways opened its first stage in October 2016 in a public square, something that sought to present what the road would look like. But a week after opening 25 of the 30 panels installed were already broken, in addition to the fact that the electrical system has presented all kinds of failures that make it out of service today.

From the first days the problems were present in Solar Roadways with 18 panels that did not work, and where the rain wreaked havoc as it does not have an efficient drainage system, which resulted in the rupture of four more panels. To this day the demonstration of what will be Solar Roadways is closed, the government and those responsible for the project have not yet clarified what happened.

We can even follow up on the Sandpoint website, where they have a webcam that points to this project and that so far is out of order, with a message that says they are updating the hardware and that between 7 and 10 days is ready again.

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