Solar Roadways Feasibility Study

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Sponsors Dr. Herbert Hess
Team Name Solar Roadways™
Duration Fall 2018 - Spring 2019
Faculty Adviser Dr. Feng Li
Mentor Hussain Beleed
Client Dr. Herbert Hess
Team Members
  • Tavara Freeman
  • Violet Gomm
  • Jesse Strange

Problem Definition[edit]

Demonstrate the feasibility of Solar Roadway™ panels being implemented as part of the walkways for the soon to be constructed Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.


The University of Idaho is currently preparing to expand on campus next to the Kibbie Dome. The building that will be erected is the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena, which will occupy the current gravel lot adjacent to the enclosed football field on the northern side. While the project will begin groundbreaking following its secured funding for construction, time remains where additions may be suggested to those directing the project. The senior design team would like to simulate conditions in which the use of solar panels as designed by SolarRoadways could be implemented within the construction of the building and be utilized in the final design. The team is currently able to immediately acquire two panels for the use of experiments in which they would demonstrate the added benefits of the panel’s implementation. The students and their investigation would seek to prove that multiple instances of their panels would prove beneficial for the university within a proposed time frame.


  • Understanding and implementing detailed controls which allow for the manipulation of the LED displays for each panel
  • Determining the optimization and usage of the heating elements within each panel
  • Validating the efficiency of the PV panels to that of other PV panels located on campus


Project Specifications
Design Area Specification
Software (User Interface)
  • The software must use time division multiplexing to display an image
  • The interface must display a smaller version of the image being displayed on the panels
  • The interface must be user friendly

Design Considerations[edit]

Design Considerations
Design Area Test
SR™ LED Control
  • Attempt pre-determined image patterns using the SR™ software
  • Attempt custom image patterns using the SR™ software
UIdaho LED Control
  • Create and design original software that will control LED output. Use time division multiplexing to display an image
Operating Conditions
  • Determine the output current and voltage of the panels through the previous Senior Design Team's test conditions
Heating Element Optimization
  • Measure power generated at varying temperatures to determine best temperature to heat that will melt snow and ice
Feasibility Analysis
  • Compare the efficiency of the SR™ panels between the Senior Design Teams
UIdaho Validation
  • Acquire the PV generation data generated by the UIdaho solar panels. Measure against the time in which both senior design teams also generated PV data

Project Learning[edit]

Overall Project Learning Goals

  • Gain a better understanding of solar panel integration an already existing grid
  • Gain a better understanding of semiconductor physics within a solar panel
  • Gain a better understanding of how the angle of a install solar panel effects efficiency
  • Gain a better understanding of implementing time division multiplexing to transmit multiple digital signals over a common channel split into segments with a short time duration

Photovoltaic Cells

Photovoltaic Cell

Semiconductor with a pn junction is exposed to light. The photons of the light can energize the electrons in the valence band. If the electron gains enough energy to cross the band gap, then it creates an electron hole pair, with the electron going to the conduction band. There is an electric field being created from the electrons and holes combining, which the free electrons increase the electric field, increasing the voltage and creates a current to produce power. The Antireflection coating is so photons aren’t reflected off the semiconductor’s surface. The front contacts are to allow current to flow, because shocker semiconductors aren’t the best conductors. The glass is there to protect the cell.

Time Division Multiplexing

Time Division Multiplexing

Time division multiplexing is a communications process that transmits two or more streaming digital signals over a common channel. In Time division multiplexing, incoming signals are divided into equal fixed-length time slots. After multiplexing, these signals are transmitted over a shared medium and reassembled into their original format after de-multiplexing. Time slot selection is directly proportional to overall system efficiency.

Temperature and Efficiency

As temperature increases, the power decreases. An increase in temperature decreases the band gap of the semiconductor, or another way to think of it is the electrons gain more energy. For solar cells, the open circuit voltage is affected most by the temperature increase. There’s a lot of device physics and equations behind the concepts.

Final Design[edit]


Team Members[edit]


Major: Computer Engineering
Hometown: Mountain Home, ID
Responsibility: Software Development


Major: Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Boise, ID
Responsibility: Solar Panel Heating Element Efficiency


Major: Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Priest River, ID
Responsibility: Solar Panel Energy Capture Efficiency

Additional Documentation[edit]

Project Schedule

Gantt chart

Meeting Minutes

9/11 Meeting Minutes
9/18 Meeting Minutes
9/25 Meeting Minutes
10/2 Meeting Minutes
10/9 Meeting Minutes
10/16 Meeting Minutes
10/23 Meeting Minutes
10/30 Meeting Minutes

Concept Design Review

Client Interview

Client Interview