Turning freeways into electricity generating 'Solar Serpents'
With solar power plants requiring large areas which aren't usually available in or close to urban areas, Sweden-based architect Mans Tham proposes cities like Los Angeles take a different road – covering the city’s freeways in solar panels. His "Solar Serpents in Paradise" idea would see 24km (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 (10,333,354 Sq Ft), enough space for 600,000 domestic panels, which could generate 150 GWh per year. That's more than enough to provide electricity to all the households of Venice, California.
Tham points out that, due to space constraints, the Los Angeles Solar Program focuses on roofs on private and public buildings within the city and solar plants in the Mojave Desert. By covering the large areas dedicated to roads – Los Angeles County has around 800km (497 miles) – in solar panels, Tham says the city could take advantage of public land with existing points of access for maintenance for use as a large scale solar installation.
Aside from capturing solar energy, the “Solar Serpent” would also shade the roads and reduce the need for air conditioning in vehicles traveling under them. It would also allow charging stations to be placed under road overpasses for electric vehicles to recharge in addition to using the locally produced electricity to be used by local households and businesses with minimal transmission costs and loss of electricity due to transmission over long distance power lines.
Tham’s idea also proposes capturing the CO2 rich air from within the Solar Serpent to be piped into algae ponds positioned alongside the freeway to be used for processing biofuels and provide green jobs for neighborhoods that are currently some of the most disadvantaged due to their proximity to the freeway.
The project was exhibited during the Toward a Just Metropolis conference held at UC Berkely this year in June.
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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.
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!
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.