Solar Highway: Future Highway Technology
- Solar highway is a technology used for collection of solar energy through photovoltaic cells incorporated on specially designed roadways and driveways. Solar highway is an expensive technology owing to the high manufacturing cost and limited availability of material and service providers across the world.
- Solar highway is a combination of transparent driving surface of underlying solar cells, sensors, and electronics to function with the circuits of solar arrays. The road panels of solar highways are specially made from recycled materials PV cells are incorporated into the road surface.
- Solar highway is developed for the primary purpose to generate clean and renewable energy from long roadways. The solar highway technology can also be utilized for bikes paths, playgrounds, pools, and courtyards. Solar highways contain solar panels on which driving and walking is possible.
- Few companies have developed a specially engineered solar panels made of glass for the highway. The glass is not an ordinary glass, a specifically formulated tempered glass which can support the weight of cars and semi-trucks. The surface can also provide traction equivalent to asphalt.
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Key Drivers of Solar Highway Market
- Increasing demand for renewable energy, including solar energy, across the globe is projected to fuel the solar highway market in the near future, due to the significant advancements in solar technology and improved R&D from major companies.
- Solar highway is the latest technology for open roadways owing to the current R&D on developing efficient photovoltaic materials to convert solar energy to electric power. Some companies have successfully developed solar panels for roadways, which can generate around 410-kilowatt hours per day. This key development is projected to fuel the demand for solar highway around the globe in the near future.
- Major countries such as China and France are increasing their focus and R&D initiatives for the development of highly efficient photovoltaic materials in order to increase efficiency to convert solar energy into electric power. This key development across the word is likely to boost the solar highway market during the forecast period.
- The solar industry is projected to witness significant expansion during the forecast period owing to reducing cost of solar photovoltaic components across the globe. This factor is likely to boost the demand for solar highways in the near future.
Improved R&D in solar technology to offer attractive opportunities
- Solar highway is gaining momentum in the solar industry owing to the attractive application and durability of components. This, in turn, is projected to offer lucrative opportunities to recharge car batteries.
- The U.S.-based Wattway Inc., a solar highway company, has successfully developed & implemented a solar highway that can power LED lights and melts snow from the solar energy. This key development by the company is projected to boost the demand for solar highway in the next few years.
- Rising research activities and increasing funds and FDI investment in the field of solar highways, especially in France, the U.S., and China, are projected to offer significant opportunity to manufacturers of solar highway components in the near future.
- China is likely to implement solar integrated technology known as “Autonomous Driving Future”, which consist of solar panels, mapping sensors, and electric battery rechargers. This technology can recharge moving electric cars for a 1,080 meter long stretch in China. This emerging technology is likely to provide electricity to over 800 homes through the solar powered highway.
High investment cost and complex glass manufacturing to hamper market
- Solar highway technology is highly expensive as compared to other alternatives of solar power generation, due to various costs associated with it such R&D, production, installation, maintenance, and implementation. This is a key factor that is projected to hamper the solar highway market in the near future.
- The manufacturing cost of special type surface panels made from glass is very high, owing to the limited availability of manufacturing technology. This is turn is estimated to restrain the solar highway market during the forecast period.
- Furthermore, limited availability of raw materials, components, and solar panels for highways is another key factor that is likely to restrain solar highway market in the near future.
- Solar highway technology is associated with the number of complexity in components manufacturing and implementation due to limited political acceptance to implement this technology across several nations. Most emerging countries are likely to use alternate solutions. This is also likely to hamper the solar highway market in the near future.
Asia Pacific is expected to hold lion’s share in the global solar highway market
- In terms of region, the global solar highway can be split into five regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.
- The solar highway market in Asia Pacific is projected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period. Rising demand for electricity in China, Japan, and South Korea is expected to fuel the demand for solar highway during the forecast period.
- Additionally, rising demand for solar photo voltaic panels for parking lots in the building & construction industry across developing countries in Asia Pacific such as China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam is projected to offer lucrative opportunities to providers of solar highway providers operating in the region.
- Europe is likely to follow Asia Pacific, in terms of share of the global solar highway market during the forecast period, owing to rising R&D investment in the solar industry, especially in technologically advanced countries such as the Germany, France, and the U.K., in the region.
Key players operating in the market
The solar highway market is competitive in nature, due to the presence of limited number of manufacturers across the globe. Key players operating in the global solar highway market are
- Solar Roadways Inc.
- Shandong Pavenergy