What If We Covered Our Roads with Solar Panels?



We sure love our roads. We love them so much that we seem determined to pave the entire world. But maybe roads can become the future of renewable energy. That’s right, roads as energy generators. How? By building them with solar panels. Do we have the technology? Could we power the entire world? What are the drawbacks?

Transcript and sources:

Subscribe to our second channel called “How to Survive”:

Can you translate this episode into another language? Add subtitles and we will link your YouTube channel in the description:

Watch more what-if scenarios:
Planet Earth:
The Cosmos:
Technology:
Your Body:
Humanity:

T-shirts and merch:
Suggest an episode:
Newsletter:
Feedback and inquiries:

What If elsewhere:
Instagram:
Twitter:
Facebook:
What If in Spanish:
What If in Mandarin:
Podcast:

What If is a mini-documentary web series that takes you on an epic journey through hypothetical worlds and possibilities. Join us on an imaginary adventure through time, space and chance while we (hopefully) boil down complex subjects in a fun and entertaining way.

Produced with love by Underknown in Toronto:

47 comments

  1. Anyone who thinks this idea is good is either science illiterate or highly gullible.

  2. This Solar Roadways concept is one of the biggest scams in history. They continue to get both state and federal funding for their pipe dream of building roadways that generate electricity. It doesn't stand up to any serious analysis of the practicality of using solar panels to pave a road. Yet as recently as January of this year they have posted on their blog. "In January 2022, Solar Roadways received both FCC (US) and ISED (Canada) approval!" That's because the individual hexagon tiles have small radios that talk to each other. How are these people still pulling off this major scam that wastes millions of taxpayer and university dollars? (yes, some universities have put large amounts of money behind this fraud) Check out Thunderf00t's video from August of 2014 debunking the concept and see what a critical review of the proposed benefits bears out.

  3. Looks solar roads scam: cause price to build it, aint worth the outcome, and its turning to slipper ice skating ring just if its raining. Nah, just nah

  4. Just put it above the roads man. Very simple. You wouldn't need HVAC in the car on summers too

  5. Solar panels in the road surface is a genuinely bad idea. In putting solar panels in the road you are exposing them to wear, dirt, poor orientation to the sun, and making it wildly expensive to resurface the road.

  6. Honestly. Its not a bad idea. But the technology needs be refined, costs brought down to make it viable. Asphalt and parking spaces are already useless. I think putting solar panels just about everywhere we can is a great idea.

  7. This is questionable tech. Every road is in need of a resurface from time to time. This was not addressed in the video and is important. The roads surface would be subject to degradation every time a tire drives over it. Instead place panels on the far edges of the ditches where they are least likely to be hit, and on the shoulders, but not on driving surface itself. The tire wear alone would mean massive continual replacement costs for less electricity generated as traffic itself would dirty the panels. These costs would not exist if the sides of ditches, and shoulders of the road, were the paneled areas. The overall idea is good but the placement on the driving surface itself is a bad one.

  8. That’s cool. Solar panels on rolls.

    If Canada 🇨🇦 and United States 🇺🇸
    have solar panels on our roads two
    👍 👍

  9. Put the panels beside the road where they can be tilted towards the sun for somewhat decent efficiency and whete driving won’t destroy them. A solar roadway is rank idiocy.

  10. Of the places to put solar panels on, a road is the worst choice. It literally makes no sense. Who on Earth thought this was a good idea?

  11. Black roads heat up the earth aka cities a lot, do solar panels get hot? Yes, so in Germany they gonna heat up there whole cities into 1 black shit, ironic…all this commentary and still not accepting villiages in the hills in itally and white houses in Greece are the future. Not beginning with the lack of houses or their great immigration problems creating this problem.And they always said poor people polute more, not totally true if you got no money, some poor people have a mobile phone and that's it and a crib, in western terms maybe, unhappiness let people buy things, lack of housing is unhappiness and only q happy house is useble on the longer term(furniture) still all this separate houses use a lot of energy so appertment should be the answer…they don't want to accept the world need to be q backpack and q bike on the wall! This leaders are the biggest disaster since human history! I think they make it worse like always! Renting shit houses were you cannot place a wall means buying and throwing away till you're new house and the circle begins! But the big house, tesla, etc etc and the biggest tree killer ikea are nothing better!
    So…Greece, Spain, and itally are the truth, same as France since they still got a lot of forest
    People forgot that if you're computer heats up you need watercooling 😉and maybe 2021 problems are for computer kids

  12. There are thousands of potential places to mount solar panels.
    A roadbed is one of the dumbest.

  13. Cool idea but let’s be honest efficiency , Cost and work required for maintenance is a large issue and outweighs the benefits .

  14. What if every building had solar panels. And also, what if we painted all roads white to keep our planet a bit cooler since darker colors absorb the sunlight more causing more heat and lighter colors reflect the sunlight.

  15. Solar roadways? Bullcrap at its finest!
    Just Google it! Many ideas did burn millions of euro dollar etc… All just a wet fart idea…

  16. Aren't cars going to be covering the roads for most of the days? Also the cost of maintenance will be sky high

  17. What if we could create some kind of road which would use the kinetic energy of Vehicles going above it and turn it into electricity? Just an idea anyone can improvise.

  18. Bottom line….you cant put solar panels underthings that are wearing it down. It produces less energy not the 100% This has been debunked 100x.

  19. Sounds good, doesn't work. Haven't you seen the pathetic disaster that is Solar frickin roadways???

  20. Why the hell would you drive cars on solar panels? What is the purpose? Why not just put the panels along the side of the road where they won't get destroyed by tires and don't have cars blocking the sun half of the day?

    It also bothers me that they think converting sunlight into electrical energy and then back into LED light will produce more light than if the original sunlight was just reflected.

  21. I'd like to know what ever happened to the original video with the guy that actually came up with this idea because it was not the Idaho couple, I remember the original video when it was blasted on Facebook…. it was a student that came up with the idea and showed how it had directional arrows, and also how it heated up for melting the snow and such….

  22. Ya know, when I 1st saw solar road ways a few years ago, I got excited. However, it got "debunked" and shoved back so hard, hardly anyone knows about it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.