FAQ Heating Elements

How can Solar Roadways help make winter safer?

Since SRPs have heating elements they can make winter much safer for vehicles and pedestrians. They help keep walking and driving surfaces snow and ice free, which can lower accident and death rates on the road and for pedestrians and bicyclists too. 

In the winter, will the solar cells be able to power the heating elements in the panels?

It depends on location and how much power is needed to clear the snow. In extreme northern latitudes where the sun is low on the horizon during the winter months, and there is much snowfall - likely not. Also at night obviously, the sun doesn’t shine. An alternate source of power must be available - either a virtual grid system which allows the panels to pull in extra energy from the grid when needed (at night or when there is not enough solar energy to keep up with the heating elements during a storm) or a storage system. Storage could be anything from a battery to a flywheel or anything else that is invented. Our hope is that someone will invent a practical and environmentally friendly form of storage that can be paired with SR panels. 

How will snow melt/water be dispersed? 

The water runs into the ground beneath the panels. The panels act like a protective electric blanket over the earth. The Cable Corridors which run alongside the road and are present in many other situations, (such as a parking lot), can contain the snow melt and even treat it on site to remove any toxins. Eventually, with enough infrastructure, we hope that the water can even be moved within the Cable Corridor to where it is most needed, i.e. a drought stricken area. 

How much enthusiasm have you received from people for the heating elements?

We are happy to report that people in northern climates love this idea. No one seems to favor shoveling and plowing. It’s an inconvenience and an expense. Living in North Idaho, we know that when we plow and shovel our parking lot, it often becomes more slippery. And often, right after we plow, it snows some more – it’s a never-ending battle. We hear from people in the northern U.S., Canada and European countries like Norway and Sweden. We hear from disabled individuals who tell us how difficult it is for them to get themselves out of their vehicle and into a wheelchair on a snowy driveway. Then they have to wheel themselves over snow and ice to their door. We are looking forward to offering help and creating winter safety. 

Won’t animals lay down on Solar Road Panels in the winter to keep warm?

We worried about that too, but after three Idaho winters, we’ve never seen it. The panels don’t have to be heating much to keep the snow away – just slightly above freezing. So they never actually need to feel warm to the touch.