Solar Roadways is a company with an exciting concept, which is to virtually pave roads with solar panels. They know how to do it and have small-scale demonstrations showing that it works. But to bring this concept to a greater scale, the company launched an Indigogo crowdsourcing campaign to gear up production.
The technology grew out of a lifelong dream of Scott Brusaw’s, who founded the company with his wife, Julie. Together their vision is to cover all roadways with solar panels, which they state on their website, “will lead to the end of our dependency on fossil fuels of any kind.”
They plan to start small, though. Driveways, bike paths, patios, sidewalks and then moving up to larger surfaces like parking lots and roads. The photo above is an artist's conception of what the downtown of Sandpoint, Idaho would look like with roads paved with solar panels.
The first prototype was finished in 2010. It was a 12 by 12-foot road panel. It used polycarabonate instead of glass, didn’t contain solar cells and was tested indoors to show the functionality of the proposed electronics. Just a few months ago the second prototype was tested. This time they covered a parking lot with solar cells, LEDs, heating elements and a textured glass surface. So far Phase II tests have included load, traction and impact resistance testing of the glass.
Their innovative technology has not gone unnoticed. The company has won two phases of funding from the US Federal Highway Administration; it was featured in Google’s Moonshot series in 2013; and it was chosen as a finalist in the IEEE Ace Awards in 2009 and 2010.
Now to take their vision to the next level, the Brusaw’s haved launched the Indiegogo campaign, with a goal of raising $1 million by 31 May 2014. Contributors receive bumper stickers, a coffee mug, t-shirt, a pendant with solar cell fragments and more. Many people are solar proponents, but this is a way to show one’s true devotion to the advancement of unique solar applications. As of this writing the amount raised by the campaign was approaching $230,000. You can follow them on Facebook and stay up to date on the results of Solar Roadways’ crowdsource funding.
Written by Anne Fischer, Managing Editor, Solar Novus Today