Now in its second prototyping stage, the project has been further developed as a modular photovoltaic (PV) paving system that can withstand the heaviest of trucks – up to 120,000 kilograms. The plan would see the ‘solar road’ panels installed on highways, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths and even playgrounds.
The system is based on centralised power stations and distribution is handled through transmission lines and relay centres. Each panel has its own microprocessor, which communicates wirelessly with the surrounding panels – they monitor each other for malfunctions or problems. The full size hexagons utilise 36-watt solar panels, with a 69 per cent surface coverage by solar cells, and excess power produced by the system can be used to feed energy requirements of surrounding neighbourhoods.
The technology will allow electric vehicles to be able to charge with energy from parking lots and driveways, and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.