(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., AP) — The Missouri Department of Transportation is set to test the feasibility of sidewalks and roadways embedded with solar panels.
The Jefferson City News-Tribune (http://bit.ly/28OZ4rh) that department officials hope the specially designed solar panels will provide enough electricity to meet the power needs of a rest area.
“Solar roadways can hopefully create new revenue streams,” said Tom Blair, assistant district engineer with the department’s St. Louis area district and head of the “Road to Tomorrow” long-range planning effort.
Blair says officials are working with Solar Roadways, an Idaho-based company developing solar panels you can walk or drive on.
The electronics of the panels are encased in glass-covered, hexagonal sections weighing about 70 pounds each. The company said the specifically formulated tempered glass can support the weight of semi-trucks and has a traction surface equivalent to asphalt.
Solar Roadways also said its panels can contain LED lights to create lines and signage without paint. The panels also have the ability to communicate with one another, a central control station and vehicles.
Blair says the department will be a continuing part of federal testing on the company’s panels.
“Technology already has changed how we think about different things in our lives,” Blair acknowledged, “and it is going to disrupt everything that every one of us transportation leaders have experienced to date in our life.”
Information from: Jefferson City News Tribune, http://www.newstribune.com.