> Just pull out the old panel and add in the new panel
And you can do that if it's not a solar panel, you could use cheap materials like concrete or steel instead of glass. And yet, we don't do that, because steamrolling asphalt costs much, much less. Adding glass and electronics to the physical panel will not improve things.
> I've seen lots of heated driveways in Utah
But we're not talking about a few hundred square feet of driveway, we're talking about a few million square miles of hiway. And then one can easily estimate the costs of doing so by looking up the operational costs:
and then multiplying. A standard lane in the US is 12 feet, we'll consider a two-lane highway and add the same for the shoulders and median and such, and multiply by a mile to get 190,080 square feet. According to that source, a snow melt system will cost $700 per 1000 square feet. So that means a two-lane highway will cost $133,000 to melt the snow PER MILE.
These articles come up all the time, things like space power and fusion. They are all completely hopeless, but because they're technological everyone argues for them. DO THE MATH FIRST.
> Without enough data, it's hard to say
Well maybe use Google to get enough data? I'm sure you can use it just as well as I can.