Solar Roadways – Crazy & Brilliant

Solar Roadways Paving Some of you may already be aware of the idea of Solar Roadways as the youtube video Solar Freakin Roadways has been viewed over 5 million times.  So what are solar roadways? Well literally they are roads, carparks, driveways or any other road surface paved in solar panels replacing the bitumen or other road surface.

Crazy idea or Brilliant idea?   Best to judge for yourself by watching the video and then heading over to the Indiegogo crowd funding website to get more information (click here for the link).  Maybe not so much crazy, more like intriguing.  I flicked the video link to one of my friends and his initial comment was it would be too costly.  I’m not so sure.  According to the video, there are enough paved areas in the United States to generate three times the amount of energy the US consumes.

Idaho couple Julie and Scott Brusaw have come up with this outstanding idea that not only generates energy but also cleans up the heavily polluted storm water than drains in to rivers and oceans and is a major environmental problem.  The side benefits of illuminated roads are also not to be dismissed – the potential is huge.  

Solar Roadways Would this be too costly?

More costly than the the tons of bitumen used to resurface roads, more costly than the fossil fuels being burnt they would replace, more costly than the wars that have been fought to secure energy supply, more costly than the degradation of our rivers and oceans, more costly than the destruction of our home?

Below are some Solar Roadways achievements (quoted from the Indiegogo website)

Did you know:

  • Solar Roadways has received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for research and development of a paving system that will pay for itself over its lifespan. We are about to wrap up our Phase II contract (to build a prototype parking lot) and now need to raise funding for production. 
  • Our glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing, and impact resistance testing in civil engineering laboratories around the country, and exceeded all requirements.
  • Solar Roadways is a modular system that will modernize our aging infrastructure with an intelligent system that can become the new Smart Grid. We won the Community Award of $50,000 by getting the most votes in GE’s Ecomagination Challenge for “Powering the Grid” in 2010. We had the most votes again in their 2011 Ecomagination Challenge for “Powering the Home”.
  • On August 21, 2013, Solar Roadways was selected by their peers as a Finalist in the World Technology Award For Energy, presented in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, and Science.
  • Solar Roadways was chosen by Google to be one of their Moonshots in May of 2013. 
  • Solar Roadways was chosen as a finalist in the IEEE Ace Awards in 2009 and 2010.
  • Solar Roadways has given presentations around the country including: TEDx Sacramento, Google’s Solve for X at Google’s NYC Headquarters, NASA, Keynote Speaker for the International Parking Institute’s Conference and much more…
  • Solar Roadways is tackling more than solar energy: The FHWA tasked us with addressing  the problem of stormwater. Currently, over 50% of the pollution in U.S. waterways comes from stormwater. We have created a section in our Cable Corridors for storing, treating, and moving stormwater.
  • The implementation of our concept on a grand scale could  create thousands of jobs in the U.S. and around the world. It could allow us all the ability to manufacture our way out of our current economic crisis.

To move things forward the Brusaws have used the power of crowd funding via Indiegogo to try and raise 1 million dollars.  Currently, as I write, the subscription amount is now $1,303,523.  Lots of people love this idea and have dipped in to their wallets to make it happen.  I can’t wait to see the prototype parking lot!