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Solar Panels for roadways

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Outdoorsonline: Solar Panels Could Replace Roads

    This solar panel concept calls for initially "paving" parking lots, and as the science improves, eventually highways across America. The attraction is that no new land is used, and if the technology is proven, "Solar Roadways could conceivably produce more than three times the electricity Americans use each year."

    Just visualize a future where solar highways are generating electricity for millions of Tesla, Leaf and other all electric brand cars.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Incredible idea. I really hope this happens, and soon. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Gives me hope that smart people are out there trying, with sincerity, to tackle some of our REAL problems.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Incredible idea? Definitely.

    Soon? No chance.

    Remember about 50-60 years ago we were told we would all be driving flying cars? How's THAT working out?

    We are always being told about great and wonderful things which will transform our lives and make things so much better. Some happen. Many do not.

    Just today we are told that comsumption of red wine and chocolate really don't help our heart health. Just another example of science saying "OOOOPS...NEVER MIND." And it happens all the time.

    Maybe the solar highway will happen, and if it DOES happen I hope it is as good as advertised. I'm not holding my breath.

    Flying cars for everyone may happen first.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    jamesn Wrote: Incredible idea? Definitely.

    Soon? No chance.

    Remember about 50-60 years ago we were told we would all be driving flying cars? How's THAT working out?

    We are always being told about great and wonderful things which will transform our lives and make things so much better. Some happen. Many do not.

    Just today we are told that comsumption of red wine and chocolate really don't help our heart health. Just another example of science saying "OOOOPS...NEVER MIND." And it happens all the time.

    Maybe the solar highway will happen, and if it DOES happen I hope it is as good as advertised. I'm not holding my breath.

    Flying cars for everyone may happen first.
    Main difference, there was no flying car technology back then, only the hope and silly expectation that science would soon figure it out. That was part of the whole mantra of the 50's and 60's, when science really was changing people's lives at an exponential rate, for the first time. Our heads were bigger than our stomachs back then, so to speak. It would be different if this was all concept and hype. But, if you watch the video and read the article, this is far from just concept. It by all accounts seems to be ready to go, albeit with a bit more tinkering. To produce on a mass scale, and to get everyone involved is the main hurdle they are up against now with this tech. Don't get me wrong though, that is a HUGE hurdle, probably crippling. But, hey, the tech appears to be out there. That's exciting. I never saw a flying car back in the day that was ready to go, just didn't have the financial backing. Big difference.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    sb You say you ..."never saw a flying car back in the day"... but you should study up a little.

    In 1949 a company was building the Aerocar and it worked. They were never mass produced but they made six of them and one was still flying as of 2008. There are still a few around today, at least one in the museum in Oshkosh Wisconsin, and they are collectors items, probably worth big money.

    I just googled flying car and it's there. Wikipedia also references several ideas that we were told are coming such as flying cars, moon colonies, zero gravity boots, personal robots, personal jet packs, and there are probably plenty more.

    Some of these ideas are real, just not practical, for one reason or another.

    The fact that the solar highway technology exists does not mean it will happen.

    Google "Aerocar flying car".

    There are lots of flying cars in the last few years, but I'm still waiting for everyone to have on in their garage.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    jamesn Wrote: You say you ..."never saw a flying car back in the day"... but you should study up a little.

    In 1949 a company was building the Aerocar and it worked. They were never mass produced but they made six of them and one was still flying as of 2008. There are still a few around today, at least one in the museum in Oshkosh Wisconsin, and they are collectors items, probably worth big money.

    I just googled flying car and it's there. Wikipedia also references several ideas that we were told is coming such as flying cars, moon colonies, zero gravity boots, personal robots, personal jet packs, and there are probably plenty more.

    Some of these ideas are real, just not practical, for one reason or another.

    The fact that the solar highway technology exists does not mean it will happen.

    Google "Aerocar flying car".

    There are lots of flying cars in the last few years, but I'm still waiting for everyone to have on in their garage.
    :) I stand corrected. Allow to clarify. I knew there were aero-car prototypes. But those are basically just personal airplanes, that just so happen to be able to double as cars. Most all the concept ones from back then were personal jets too, with the same gimmick, not practical at all... I guess when I think of flying cars, I think of the Jetsons or flying hover cars like in 'The Fifth Element' or other sci-fi movies. But maybe I am just playing semantics. You are right, there were and still are 'flying cars'. But there has never been, as far as I know, a true working flying car that fits the practicality mold of something beyond an expensive gimmick, right? If I am wrong about that, with all seriousness, let me know. That would be awesome. I would gladly eat my words if that exists.

    At least with the solar highway, it stands a real world chance of actual implementation on a mass scale for reasons other than "its really cool, so why not?". Solar energy is a viable energy source. This tech could revolutionize a dozen industries, and possibly be a major player in solving the global warming, carbon emissions crisis. Will it happen overnight or soon? Fat chance, I agree with you. But I think it far from the romantic notion of a flying car.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I'm still waiting for the USA to change over to that Socialist, Comunistic metric system!
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    pgr yep, I was hearing "we are going on the metric system" decades ago. Lots of things that are coming never get here.

    sb you are right that there's never been, and may never be, a "flying car" that is even remotely practical for the masses, at least not in our lifetime. Maybe for future generations.

    They are pretty cool, though.
  • Democrat
    Athens, GA
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    I can't think of an industry other than solar panels that I soooooo want to see do well! I so want the US and the rest of the world to be able to make the most of sun power.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Famous quotes:

    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

    "But what...is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

    "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

    "So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" -- Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

    -------------------------------------------

    What I like about scientists and the real entrepreneurs that help bring their ideas to the market place is the love of their work, and that despite failure they continue on...not necessarily to make a huge profit and get rich but because they believe in their ideas.

    Certainly the world is full of ideas that have been brought to the marketplace and failed, but for all the failures there are many big successes.

    Without that combination of scientific curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit we might still be in the horse and buggy days. The market place of solar, wind and other forms of clean energy are their products. Conservatives just need to get out of the way.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Maybe there will be so much cheap and plentiful electricity generated by the "solar highways" that the electricity will be "Too cheap to meter".

    "Too cheap to meter" is exactly what they said about power generated by nuclear power plants back in their early days. There was going to be so much electricity for everyone that it would not be cost-worthy to mount meters on houses.

    Big promises are frequently made and many times those promises do not materialize.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    I don't see this story and tech as some big promise made by some industry or figure head, as much as it's just an opportunity. Hard to deny the ingeniousness of the design and implementation. Hope it materializes... it's leaps and bounds more than I've ever come up with to try and solve a big problem.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    jamesn Wrote: Maybe there will be so much cheap and plentiful electricity generated by the "solar highways" that the electricity will be "Too cheap to meter".

    "Too cheap to meter" is exactly what they said about power generated by nuclear power plants back in their early days. There was going to be so much electricity for everyone that it would not be cost-worthy to mount meters on houses.

    Big promises are frequently made and many times those promises do not materialize.
    The words "too cheap to meter" are your words along with "big promises". You're reading more into the article than what is there. It is a concept that has a potentially promising future...much like personal computers did when various big wigs in corporations pooh poohed the idea.

    I think it has potential. You disagree with me. Let's just leave it at that.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Schmidt you say that ..."The words "too cheap to meter" are your words along with "big promises"." Not exactly.

    The phrase "too cheap to meter" was part of a speech given by Lewis L. Strauss on Sept 16, 1954. He was a former Navy officer who was appointed CHAIRMAN OF THE US ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION in 1953 by President Eisenhower.

    "Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter..." That's what HE said.

    Electricity was going to be so cheap and plentiful that it would not be cost effective to have a meter installed on our houses.

    Of course, we know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. But it sure sounded good at the time, didn't it?

    I agree with you that the solar highway concept has potential. History is full of examples of potentially promising technologies, and some of them do completely transform our lives like personal computers. Some, like electricity that would be "too cheap to meter" never really happened.

    In the article I don't see much talk of the cost of these solar highways, other than the phrase ..."not cheap when done correctly"... So, before getting my hopes up, I'd want to see more specifics on the costs, and one thing we know for sure--when government gives cost estimates, they are frequently wrong. WAY WRONG.

    I would love to think that we will all be driving on solar highways, and parking on solar parking lots which generate electricity which would be "too cheap to meter", but we've heard that before, haven't we?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    jamesn Wrote: Schmidt you say that ..."The words "too cheap to meter" are your words along with "big promises"." Not exactly.

    The phrase "too cheap to meter" was part of a speech given by Lewis L. Strauss on Sept 16, 1954. He was a former Navy officer who was appointed CHAIRMAN OF THE US ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION in 1953 by President Eisenhower.

    "Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter..." That's what HE said.

    Electricity was going to be so cheap and plentiful that it would not be cost effective to have a meter installed on our houses.

    Of course, we know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. But it sure sounded good at the time, didn't it?

    I agree with you that the solar highway concept has potential. History is full of examples of potentially promising technologies, and some of them do completely transform our lives like personal computers. Some, like electricity that would be "too cheap to meter" never really happened.

    In the article I don't see much talk of the cost of these solar highways, other than the phrase ..."not cheap when done correctly"... So, before getting my hopes up, I'd want to see more specifics on the costs, and one thing we know for sure--when government gives cost estimates, they are frequently wrong. WAY WRONG.

    I would love to think that we will all be driving on solar highways, and parking on solar parking lots which generate electricity which would be "too cheap to meter", but we've heard that before, haven't we?
    Wow James...I would not want to have you as overseer of disbursements of funds for research or taking an idea to the next level. During my working career, I sometimes was involved in deciding what research projects were worthy of funding at universities. I don't recall a single one that demanded certitude in costs. We provided seed money for a year or more, and if the idea continued to show promise, we would add more funds. That's the way these ideas take traction...seed money for an idea that can grow or fail. If the idea failed, we didn't slam anyone or hold anyone accountable. It was a learning experience. Nothing ventured...nothing gained.

    I'm just thankful for all the creative, visionary people, scientists and entrepreneurs, in the world that are not scared to take a risk.