Brilliant. Another good idea: PV on the flat rooftops of commercial warehouse type buildings...
reason: large enough collection area that converting DC from PV arrays to AC for grid tie-in can be done cost effectively, especially if multiple buildings are involved (as in an industrial park).
Power generation close to point of use is always a good idea -reduces secondary costs, and losses from transmission lines.
8th November, 2010 @ 10:47 p.m. (California Time)
Sounds a lot like my \'43 bridge idea to cover expressways, insulate the road sheds for sound proofing them in residential areas, and pipe collected air pollution through catalytic converters.
Wow, this guy\'s a genius, too! Of course, I only thought of this ten years ago.
8th November, 2010 @ 10:54 p.m. (California Time)
Why the authors of such \"brilliant ideas\" never try to calculate economic efficiency of their projects?
This particular one has a great windage.
Hence it will be expensive in construction and building.
I never believe that generated power will even be compared to expenses!
9th November, 2010 @ 7:18 a.m. (California Time)
It seems like a good idea, but when the cars are on the freeway end to end in a traffic jam would that take away from the solar panel\'s effectiveness? Unless...the cars all had solar collectors on their undersides and could then be using the power in that way. :) Some sort of panel to panel power sharing.
9th November, 2010 @ 7:49 a.m. (California Time)
I suppose I should have read the whole article to know that the solar panels would be over the cars. Still, they\'d have to be earthquake proof and not fall on the cars. Nothing is earthquake proof though, is it?
9th November, 2010 @ 7:53 a.m. (California Time)
I think it\'s a good idea but I could see the Los Angeles police department and to a lesser extent the media opposing this. With covered highways the effectiveness of police helicopters is diminished. The media won\'t be able to stalk celebrities with their choppers as easily too. No one would have see OJ in the white ford bronco on TV!
9th November, 2010 @ 8:37 a.m. (California Time)
What is the cost per mile and how long will it take to start paying for itself? Until these questions can be answered, it\'s a pipe dream.
9th November, 2010 @ 8:37 a.m. (California Time)
Wow...this is weak. So totally ridiculous. Anybody can come up with foolish ideas to generate tons of clean energy. Like building a solar collector in space. Or drilling a hole into the earths core to get to the unlimited supply of heat energy. So weak. Not feasible. At least not now, but this one, most likely never. I guess trying different approaches is a good idea. But ridiculous ideas like this makes the man in the street think it\'s easy to garner green energy.
9th November, 2010 @ 8:55 a.m. (California Time)
If the idea is so \"weak\", what do you propose? apparently you believe that you have some sort of special insight into the problem, so let\'s hear it.
At least that is an idea, not just naysaying any idea someone else comes up with.
9th November, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m. (California Time)
I like the idea and design. It caters for various purposes. Amazing.
10th November, 2010 @ 1:37 a.m. (California Time)
I\'m no scientist, but this sounds doable to me. Instead of building the next solar array in the US far from points of use, why not try this idea out over just a Turnpike toll area or junction? Also, how about extending it over a high density shopping strip along a highway?
My only question is the level of noise inside one of these?
10th November, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m. (California Time)
\"Wow, this guy\'s a genius, too! Of course, I only thought of this ten years ago.\"
@ TogetherinParis: Hey self-congratulating super genius, did you just think of it (yeah, I in passing, thoughts of something similar - anybody can \'think\' of anything and never say or do anything about it) or did you work out the details and actually make a presentation to anyone as Mr. Tham clearly has?
Get over yourself. Billions of people \'think\' of things all the time. It\'s not what people \'think\', it\'s what people \'do\' that makes a difference.
Just thoughts from another \'Thinker\'
10th November, 2010 @ 9:05 a.m. (California Time)
Hey gang, fix your math or numbers please: "(15 miles) of LA's Santa Monica Freeway covered in solar panels with an average width of 40m (131 ft), that adds up to an area of 960,000 m2 (10,333 Sq Ft),"
15mi by 131 feet (79,200ft x 131ft) is 10,375,200 sq feet. Looks like you dropped a thousandplace... or the numbers in the article are wrong.
Thanks Robert - this error has been corrected. Ed.
10th November, 2010 @ 3:13 p.m. (California Time)
Many people forget when they say cost effectively the \"other costs\" associated with health problems from breathing bad air made from burning fossil fuels. The costs of going to wars to protect oil sources. The costs are so huge if you put those into the equation that any alternative renewable resource is worth it.
Great idea-the structure is sound in it\'s design, catch rainwater off it and have it feed gardens, put regenerative shocks in the roads where slowing down is required anyway, add thermal pipes in the exposed portions of the roads to capture the heat and provide ho water and electricity. Let\'s all use this kind of thinking!
11th November, 2010 @ 5:13 p.m. (California Time)
Just creating the structure will make a large carbon footprint. Assuming diesel/bio-diesel and other petroleum vehicles will still be used you have soot to deal with. The high concentration of soot from the vehicles will accumulate on the panels and reduce their efficiency. The structure would have to compensate for a lot of vibration from all the traffic. It would have to be incredibly strong at the edges to handle accidents which means more energy expenditure in materials. I could imagine the thousands of idling vehicles and traffic jams construction of such a structure would cause as well. Just the fuel expended in its construction and the resulting chaos would limit the effectiveness of this. Imagine the I5 in California as they try to put something like this up!
19th November, 2010 @ 5:58 p.m. (California Time)
\'Just creating the structure will make a large carbon footprint.\'
@ Todd Gehris: Is there any such thing as a powerplant that doesn\'t have a large carbon footprint? I mean, I can\'t imagine this being worse than building any other type of powerplant.
10th June, 2011 @ 4:46 p.m. (California Time)
Yeah, at this point in time almost any renewable energy project has large amounts of embodied energy, bit it is usually similar to the amount present in fosil fuel burning plants. Todd Gehris has a good point though. Soot would eventually render the panels almost completely inefficient. However, the article spoke of creating jobs for the neighborhoods near the freeways... A small team of people could be hired per 'x' stretch of freeway to keep them clean much in the same way a window washer works in any city with tall skyscrapers. The idea is sound, and with a little more attention paid to aesthetics by the architect, this could be an attractive and pleasant screen to drive underneath. Maybe something as simple as providing breaks in the panels to create a pattern or something. Bravo! I think it's really an interesting idea!
8th March, 2012 @ 11:31 a.m. (California Time)
For the soot problem, might I direct you folks to another article published recently: http://www.gizmag.com/nanotextured-multifunctional-glass/22339/
Not an issue as long as they use this kind of glass on the panels, and it rains once in a while.
30th April, 2012 @ 10:29 a.m. (California Time)