ian807 wrote:OK, the roadway idea is stupid. The idea of say, roofing over all railways with solar panels, less stupid.
Roofing over rail is not a bad idea. Though I think positioning panels next to the train tracks and at an angle would be a better idea. A big problem with urban elevated railways is their 'shadow' footprint. By putting solar panels along the ROW you just make that problem much bigger.
Regarding roads, what I think is possible:
* Roadways represent strips of land that is already zoned for government to build on.
* Panels could easily be positioned vertically or at an angle by highways.
* Solar panels could be used to supplement the grid. NJ is doing this will solar panels mounted on utility poles next to the roads. It does NOT power the cars but does provide some additional power. Perhaps someone could look into this project and see how it is doing. At least one fellow I know says that the first thing he will steal in a crash is the solar panels.
What is questionable:
* That we have the money to build more infrastructure.
* Solar panels have trouble producing low cost power.
* It over-complicates things to put them in a road.
Frankly it strikes me that discussions like this are another form of denialism. Our energy usage is so over the top of sustainable limits as to be laughable. The ONLY way we can address our energy problems is to drastically limit use. However even this has grave problems.
Consider this, that living in a temperate climate has inherit energy costs, you must stay warm. I see no way to sufficiently reduce our heating energy usage. We COULD all live in some impossibly small hovel super insulated and use our body heat.
Building very energy efficient homes that house 30 to 50 people in a very small place is something we know how to do. It is possible, it has a strong energy conservation profile. It is relatively affordable. You could put these supper hovels near work centers and then cut way down on travel costs.
But I don't see anyone standing in line to support that idea.