Solar roadway could revolutionize home power production
Imagine a road or driveway that also generates electricity from the sun. That’s the goal of the Solar Roadways project, a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks.
The project has already 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.
The inventors, Scott and Julie Brusaw, are seeking funding on Indiegogo to wrap up their Phase II contract for a prototype parking lot. They’re looking for funds to enter the production phase.
The Solar Road Panels could be installed on any flat surface like roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds or any surface under the sun. The panels would pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots.
A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole (http://solarroadways.com/numbers.shtml).
In addition to generating electricity, the solar panels can also serve as heating elements for roads and sidewalks to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a "home" for power and data cables.
Eventually electric vehicles will be able to charge with energy from the sun, and after a roadway system is in place mutual induction technology will let EVs charge while driving.
The concept already won the Community Award of $50,000 by getting the most votes in GE's Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Grid" in 2010, and it had the most votes again in the 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.
The Brusaws want to take their idea from testing to a full-scale implementation
“We were thrilled when the Federal Highway Administration expressed an interest in what we were doing and provided us the funding to move our concept forward,” Scott wrote on their Indiegogo site. “We have found a way to offer a road that can pay for itself over time by the energy it creates etc. Solar Roadways can also become the Smart Grid. The roads that already traverse each country are perfect for becoming the grid that carries our power. It will allow us to create an organized system, a decentralized system which is secure and protected, unlike the current centralized power stations.”
Solar Roadways benefits include:
- Homes fully or mostly off grid thanks to the solar driveway
- Driveways, walkways and patios that clear themselves of snow
- Roads that clear themselves of snow
- LED lighting for highway markings
- Real-time warning of road obstructions based on in-road sensors
- Directional signage from the embedded LED lights
- Electric vehicle charging
- Disaster relief with power from solar panels set up quickly
Read more on Indiegogo.