Technology has been created to be able to transform our roadways into miles of solar power generation.
Scott and Julie Brusaw have been working on the idea for most of a decade now. Their idea has gained much attention in recent years, especially in the form of two rounds of funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
Their Solar Roadways system is based on the idea that there is enough roadway space to supply the United States with more than enough energy. Mr. Brusaw found that if the 72,000 square kilometer of asphalt and concrete that the U.S. has is covered in solar panels, it would produce more than three times what the country uses.
The primary motivation and inspiration for this project is to drastically cut America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Brusaw wants to do his part to help eliminate the 50% or so of emissions that are produced when fossil fuels are burned to create electricity.
The technology is fairly simple. Solar panels are embedded in tempered, interlocking glass panels. These glass panels have been thoroughly tested for traction, impact, and load capabilities.
It’s easy to conclude that the scale and scope of this project seems unrealistic. While this may be true, the Brusaws have received considerable and credible attention. They have won awards and nominations from GE’s World Of Technology, the IEEE Ace Awards, NASA, and Google’s Solve for X.
In addition to seeking government funding, the couple are also fundraising via Indiegogo. A prototype parking lot is in the works. The plan is to then sell to consumers and eventually get the government on board.
Even if all of our roadways do not eventually become energy producers, this project can still have a massive impact wherever it gets implemented. We need as much solar power as possible.
Solar Roadways is just another great example of the versatility and potential that solar power has. It can be easy to argue that we are still in the beginning stages of different solar power applications.
We’ll need to see all types of solar applications being deployed much sooner than later to experience a better, cleaner future for all of us.