Could Oklahoma Benefit From Solar Roadways?

Wednesday, May 28th 2014, 7:54 pm
By: News 9

Over 6.5 million views in just 10 days, Solar Panel Roads have become a viral sensation. But what are they, and how could Oklahoma benefit?

Potholes line many of Oklahoma's streets, but what if pot holes were gone. And the ice and snow we see in the winter months could just melt away instantly. An aggressive campaign is underway for such a revolutionary concept.

"Literally has the potential to change the world for the better," said Sustainable OKC President Tim Tillman.

Solar panel roadways, created by an Idaho couple back in 2006, has received research funding from the Federal Highway Administration and $1.5 Million through online fundraising.

"Every panel has a series of led lights on the circuit board that can be programed to make warning signs, lane signs and parking lot designs" – according to the video.

The idea has sustainable OKC president Tim Tillman energized.

"We're sort of an ideal location, lots of sunshine and with our existing automobile culture and existing roadway structure I think Oklahoma could be poised to be a national leader in," said Tillman.

And who better to know that existing roadway structure than tow truck driver Jeff Jones.

"We're out here all the time," said Jones. "You got something real delicate on your bed so you don't want to risk damaging that so you have to take a different route because of that road."

Jones is also sold on the idea of the panels using heat to melt snow and ice off the roadways. But Tillman has got an idea to sell everyone else on the idea.

"If they can get the cost of replacing a roadway even close to the cost of replacing a normal roadway, then it's going to be an easy sell," said Tillman.

Now while the Federal Highway Administration declined to comment because it is ongoing research, the City of Oklahoma City did state that if it does make sense economically, it's certainly something they would look into.

Tillman also mentioned Oklahoma's new Solar Energy use charge would also be a factor, which he says would most likely need to be handled through legislation.

Learn more about the video and the panels.