In Aspen, Colorado, and other areas, solar hot water systems are often installed to keep driveways free of snow and ice. In these systems, pipes are installed beneath the driveway before the pavement is laid down. These pipes circulate a solar-heated fluid (a type of antifreeze) beneath the driveway. Even on cloudy days, the panels often produce enough heat to melt snow and ice, as the fluid circulating beneath the driveway doesn’t have to be as hot as water in our homes. It has to be just hot enough to melt the snow.
This application may seem like a luxury to most of us, and it is, but it beats the alternative: using a gas-fired boiler or electrical wire to achieve the same result. And it does eliminate the need to plow driveways, an activity that uses a lot of energy