Jul 1, 2016

First ‘solar roadway’ in US coming to Route 66

Admin
2 min
A segment of the historic US Route 66 — the roughly 2,450 mile highway stretching from Chicago to Santa Monica, California — will soon be...

A segment of the historic US Route 66 — the roughly 2,450 mile highway stretching from Chicago to Santa Monica, California — will soon be covered in solar panels.

Idaho-based startup Solar Roadways will provide the panels, which are to be placed on a section of the road in Conway, Missouri. The company describes its tempered-glass technology as a “modular system of specially engineered solar panels that can be walked and driven upon”.

The panels contain LED lights to create lines and signage without the need for paint and also contain heating features to prevent ice and snow buildup.

The roadway is part of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s ‘Road to Tomorrow’ project, which is focussed on modernising highways using ‘smart’ techniques and renewable energy.

The Solar Roadways panels contain microprocessors that allow the panels to communicate with each other and a central control centre. Repairs to the road could also be made easier because the panels are modular.

The Missouri Department of Transportation intends to trial the 20-by-12 foot panels, initially using them to cover sidewalks and rest areas off Route 66. They could be in place before the end of this year.

However, there are some logistical concerns plaguing the concept of solar roads — traffic and water damage risks among them.

As it stands, the Road to Tomorrow is prepared to take a chance at innovation.

“If [Solar Roadway’s] version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves,” said Tom Blair, the head of the initiative.

Follow @EnergyDigital

Read the June 2016 issue of Energy Digital magazine  

Share article

May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

schools
energyefficiency
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

Share article