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Have you heard of solar powered line marking?

12:00am, Thursday 20 December 2018

It’s not very often that a YouTube video gets over 22 million views, but Solar Freakin’ Roadways has done just that! Why is this video so popular with audiences? It’s most probably because it’s so well-made and edgy (the graphics are awesome!), but it’s also to do with its premise that interconnecting solar powered panels will soon be used for line marking on roads, driveways, sports grounds, runways and bike paths in your neighbourhood!

Can solar panels really be used for line marking on roads?

This is one of the reasons why they were designed by engineering couple Scott and Julie Brusaw in 2006 and it’s certainly feasible that solar panels can be used to mark lanes on roads, but this technology is still in its infancy and currently, is too expensive to be used for mass production.

The idea that we can replace all the tarmac and concrete (that needs to be constantly repaired and becomes baking hot in the summer) with solar cells that generate electricity and pay for themselves is extremely innovative and environmentally friendly.

One of the outstanding ideas in this video is that these solar cells can be laid over sporting grounds, so instead of line marking different courts for basketball or netball for example, you simply choose your sport and the solar cells light up the correct markings on the court.

Another bright idea is that since these solar cells create both heat and power, they can be laid over roads, pedestrian paths, runways and bike paths in areas where it snows and freezes in winter; this technology will keep all these surfaces clear and safe for users during the winter season. In the future there won’t be any more shovelling snow in your driveway or any need for snowmobiles to clear the roads!

Imagine a freeway where the road ahead lights up as you drive along so you can see animals on the road in enough time to stop or where pressure sensors are included in the cells so that they warn you if there is an obstruction ahead, such as broken branches, accidents or boulders. These pressure sensors would be awesome in the outback where you can be forewarned if an animal is crossing the road, such as a kangaroo, camel or a wandering cow.

One of the issues at the moment with this technology is that the solar cells use LED lights, which are great during the night and in low light levels, but which don’t show up very well in the sunlight, so their use for line marking is currently limited. Nevertheless, we can all look forward to the day when these innovative solar charged panels can be used not only for lane marking, but also on all types of surfaces to produce electricity, heat and illumination.

Not forgetting that they are made from recycled materials and can even charge electric cars as you drive along them, both of which are great for the environment!

In the meantime, if you need traffic lines marked for your car park, shopping centre or roadways, you will need to call your local line marking specialist for a few more years yet.