We need to take advantage of the renewable power of the sun... no brainer. How? There are new breakthroughs every week that go beyond tradition solar panels, and WPI researchers announced a great one yesterday: Use the a massive system that we already have collecting rays everyday... roads and parking lots!
I read over at CleanTechnica that researchers at WPI announced yesterday that they have discovered a method to use paved surfaces for solar collection. We are all familiar with how the blacktop heats up on a sunny day, well, researchers discovered they can significantly increase the amount of heat that is absorbed by adding conductive aggregates to the pavement mix. Then by placing heat exchangers under the surface, that heat can be harnessed. Theoretically this could be used on a large scale or small scale. For example a grocery store's parking lot can be used to generate heat and hot water for the building, or my driveway could heat my house!
The thought of the sheer volume of paved surface in the US alone is baffling. Now think about how much of the suns energy is absorbed everyday and just dissipates into the ground and into the air. There is so much energy all around us that we are not using and this, in my opinion, is a great way to integrate renewable energy into our existing infrastructure.
Now I'm probably getting ahead of myself so let me be clear, I'm not saying that as soon as this technology is ready we should start tearing up our roads and parking lots and make new ones. Instead we should integrate this technology as we update the existing infrastructure, on repaving projects and new construction.