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Solar Roadways – are we living in the Future yet?

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Bryan Johansson
Posted on 5th May 2023

Welcome to the age of solar technology. The future is bright, and it’s all thanks to the mighty power of the sun. For years, we’ve been relying on non-renewable energy sources that harm the environment, but with solar technology, we can finally start the switch to clean energy and save our planet. When it comes to innovative solar solutions, nothing beats the solar panels that can be used on roads and sidewalks-solar roadways.

Solar Roadways and Sidewalks?

In 2017, a special project was embarked upon between the brilliant minds at Solar Earth and the well-to-do faculty at Thompson Rivers University. This project was an ambitious and innovative design that would pave the way for years to come with both Solar Earth and the industry itself. The idea: Canada’s First Solar Sidewalk! Once this brilliant project was finalized and brought to life by an electrical instructor and 3 apprentice electricians, the results were measurable and positive. A great success that then led to the larger “Solar Compass” project at Thompson Rivers University. A large factor in this was the solar panels that Solar Earth manufactured.

The team of electrician’s working on the Thompson Rivers Solar Sidewalk.


Yes, you heard that right. It may sound like a sci-fi movie plot, but it’s a reality we are getting closer to through companies like Solar Earth Technologies. Imagine driving down the highway, and instead of asphalt or concrete, you see a smooth surface made of solar panels. Not only would it look cool, but it would also generate energy from the sun and help produce power for essential traffic controls and infrastructure requirements. Talk about a game-changer!


Why We Need Solar Roadways

Of course, some skeptics might argue that this is just a pipe dream and that roads and sidewalks alike are subject to wear and tear. Or that a bunch of solar panels won’t stand a chance against heavy traffic or harsh weather conditions.


But fear not dear readers, because the technology behind these solar panels is top-notch. These rugged, safe, and skid-resistant panels can withstand up to 5 tons of weight and harsh weather.  They also offer the ability to harness solar energy for streetlights, traffic lights, and sidewalk lighting without invading landscape or agricultural areas. Installing paving integrated solar panels over tarmac into existing roads will allow for cost-effective installation and seamless integration including anti-vandalism features.


These solar panels don’t just generate energy from the sun, they also- depending on the type of panel- can assist in melting snow and ice. Yes, you read that right. No more worrying about slippery sidewalks during those harsh winters. These solar panels boast thermal properties that allow them to melt any snow or ice that accumulates.

What about cost?

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “But what about the cost? Isn’t replacing all our roads with solar panels expensive?” Well, they can be installed using our current infrastructure. While it’s true that there is an initial cost, the payoff is high and it’s an investment for future returns. Solar technology has come a long way in recent years, and as more people adopt it the cost will inevitably become lower. Plus, the amount of energy these solar panels can generate is staggering. They are also solar panels that can be integrated with electric vehicle charging technology which will surely please electric vehicle owners.


But let’s not just focus on the practical benefits of solar roads. Imagine driving down a road lined by a sidewalk that glows in the dark with LED lights. Or having traffic markings displaying the speed limit and lane markings. Imagine the possibilities for public art and creative designs. We could turn our roads into works of art that serve a practical purpose and inspire us. By using solar technology, we’re also reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources and decreasing our carbon footprint. We’re doing our part to combat climate change and ensure a better future for generations.



Solar technology is the way of the future or at the very least, an integral part of increasing the planets life expectancy. If we implement solar panels on our roads and sidewalks, we can generate clean energy and visually appealing infrastructure. It may seem like a lofty goal, but for the planet and it’s inhabitants, advancements like these are essential.


About The Author

As an electrician now for just over five years, I wanted to share a bit of my story with you. My start came by a university foundations course, which began my level 1 electrical apprenticeship. One personal highlight was my involvement in the first solar sidewalk in North America.  This was spearheaded by the electrical faculty at Thompson Rivers University and the brilliant minds at Solar Earth in Vancouver. Though I started at a later age, a blink later, I am now working an amazing job.  I get to experience residential, commercial, and industrial work. The learning seems as boundless as the obstacles I face. A large interest in electrical work keep me afloat for writing, taming my rascal puppies, managing a severe tool addiction, and my amazing wife.  Stay grounded my friends!

-Bryan Johansson