Imagine driving on a busy road...without any traffic lines or caution signs. Could it be safe?
Scott Brusaw from Sagle, Idaho says yes. He invented Solar Roadways, the nation’s first system of solar panels that can be walked and driven on.
Boise Weekly reports the project took root in 2010, when Brusaw first demonstrated the concept in a friend’s garage. They videotaped the demonstration. Soon after, representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation contacted Brusaw and awarded him a federal grant to continue his research. A few years later Brusaw’s crowdsourcing campaign topped at $2.2 million.
And today - Friday, September 30, 2016 - Solar Roadways is performing its first public demonstration in Sandpoint, Idaho.
KREM-TV reports that Sandpoint will be the first city in the nation with roads that utilize solar panels that power the LED lights which form lines and signage - eliminating the need to paint pavement.
Even though the solar panels are made of glass, they can support the weight of a semi truck, thanks to specially-formulated tempered glass.
On its website, Solar Roadways claims traction on the panels is equivalent to asphalt. But unlike asphalt, it doesn’t soften at high temperatures. The panels also have heating features that keep the roads snow- and ice-free and are impervious to the wear and tear that causes potholes.
What does the future hold? Solar Roadways says it will be able to charge electric vehicles - from their solar parking lots, and even while driving.
“We’ve got a little over 28,000 square miles of paved surfaces in the lower 48 states,” Brusaw told KREM-TV. “If we covered all those surfaces we’d produce three times more energy than we use.”
The first panels will be laid down in Jeff Jones Square for today’s public demonstration.