SolarRoadways, a husband-and-wife team, is making solar tiles that can do just that. The tiles are strong enough to be driven over, and they collect energy from the sun. SolarRoadways has already built a prototype driveway and are now in the midst of an indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign to raise money to build a manufacturing plant.
|Prototype Solar Driveway by SolarRoadways|
Think about the enormous surface area of asphalt exposed to the sun - all of the miles and miles of roads, parking lots, and driveways. Imagine if the sunlight reaching those roads could be collected and converted into electricity to make communities less dependent on fossil fuels. Solar tiles in roads allow energy to be produced close to where it will be used, which is much more efficient than transporting energy over long distances. Decentralizing our energy sources also makes us much more resilient- for example, severe weather would be less likely to lead to widespread power outages.
One more perk of using solar tiles is that the solar energy captured could be used to melt snow and ice on highways and driveways during winter. The benefits would be huge: energy and resource savings (no need to buy and transport salt!), increased safety and no more salt contamination of the surrounding environment.