For the past few years, Solar Roadways has been working on developing solar panels as surface materials for roadways. Today the company posted the video below on their Facebook page. In it Scott Brusaw summarizes their work to date and looks ahead to the future. In the past, the company seemed to primarily focus on roads, but based on the video, it appears they are also considering other uses for their panels. A few of the applications suggested included bike paths, parking lots, sidewalks, cemeteries, airports, and even dance floors.
The benefits of this type of surface include the ability to generate electricity, charge electrical devices, convey messages through lighting in real time, embed cameras in the panel, eliminate the need for striping and snow removal, and alert maintenance crews to damaged panels. And I imagine traffic counts could be collected in real time.
Some other ideas would be to allow emergency messages to be broadcast through lighting on the surface or perhaps even allow the posting of ads on bike paths or in parking lots. As you walk from your car to the supermarket, you could see messages of sales or other promotions displayed in front of you.