With so many millions of miles of roads in the United States the potential for resurfacing them with solar voltaic materials fir the purpose of capturing electric power should be exploited. The federal government should invest substantially in research to develop even a low efficiency material that would be applied to the driveway material. Presently at least the state of Oregon has placed conventional solar panels along a highway corridor in order to generate electricity for highway sign illumination at night.
U.S. interstate highways especially near major urban areas have vast surface areas that are not at all productive of electric power presently. The public already owns the right of way to develop all of those highway surfaces into a national network of solar panels to power electric vehicles including computer directed personal transportation platforms such as wheeled vehicles, hovercraft, ultra light surface individual transport platforms and elevated in-line very high speed monorail packet-transporters. Oil from O.P.E.C. is again going up in price and the United States is the consumer-Turkey in the global picture. The oil producing nations of the world must be glad that such a splendid, dumb bird exists to buy so much product and transfer so much wealth to them. U.S. political leadership should actually lead the effort to make solar power collecting transportation surface technology for low cost to restore American technological leadership in larger infrastructure systems.
An company in Idaho is working on developing one technology of actually making highways solar collecting surfaces. A 45 mile piece of road between Sandpoint and Cour de Alene Idaho is being resurfaced with such.
As with solar voltaic panels, there is a large potential for different materials to be made capable of collecting photons for electric power in highway surfaces. Ideally there would be some method of adding a low cost ingredient to existing resurfacing technologies to enable existing road work methods to continue to be applied.
Solar powered paint products presently exist. New technologies and materials for painting steel are being developed in Britain. The particulate photon absorbing material approach to collecting solar electricity has much potential for coating every sort of surface including ship’s hulls, such an approach should be used to innovate or invent materials additives to apply to existing highway surfaces.
http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1441/83/ solar power paint progress
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0114_050114_solarplastic.html spray on material allows infrared light capture
The English government has contracted with a company to install in-road solar panels for safety light, and it has reduced accidents at night significantly.
Thin film solar materials are experiencing much developments too… http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=solar-power-lightens-up-with-thin-film-cells