The primary purpose of solar panel roadways is to reduce energy dependency on fossil fuels and curb greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, approximately 50 percent of greenhouse gas production comes from burning fossil fuels to produce electricity, say authors at CNN. Roughly another 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions comes from car exhaust, so replacing standard roadways with solar panels could reduce green house gas emissions by nearly 75 percent.
Although solar panel roads are praised primarily for their clean energy benefits, they have safety benefits and economic advantages too. Solar roadways are made with a layer of strong glass, and have bright LED lights on the surface to provide traditional roadway markings. The glass used to cover solar roads can support loads of up to 125 tons without breaking, notes CNN. Furthermore, they prevent snow and ice accumulation and have good traction, which helps cars stop quickly on dry and wet surfaces, and may ultimately reduce the number of traffic accidents.
Solar roads also offer several economic benefits. The construction of solar roads in the United States might provide up to 2.5 million jobs for a decade, states Green Plus. Additionally, homes and businesses located near solar roads can connect to the roads as a source of power. By harvesting surplus energy from solar roads, those homes and offices will reduce their electricity consumption.