There are approximately 31,251 square miles of roads, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, and sidewalks in the lower 48 states.
If Julie and Scott Brusaw have their way, they will all someday be replaced with solar panels.
For the better part of a decade, the Idaho couple have been working on prototyping an industrial-strength panel that could withstand the weight of even the largest trucks.
They now appear to have cracked the formula, developing a specially textured glass coating for the panels that can not only bear tremendous loads but can support standard tire traction.
By their reckoning, at peak installation, their panel-ized roads could produce more than 3x the electricity currently consumed in the U.S.
The material could also be able to power electric vehicles, through a a “receiver” plate mounted beneath the EV and a “transmitter” plate is installed in the road.
The project has already received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, and last year featured in Google’s Moonshot series. They’re now incorporated as Solar Roadways.
Right now, they’re now looking to raise $US1 million on IndieGogo to move beyond the prototype and into production. So far they have received $US112,000 since announcing the campaign about three weeks ago.
If you’re wondering why they are choosing crowdfunding given the potentially large interest from investors, so have many others. Their reason for doing so is rather noble. As they explain on their website (via John Aziz):
The idea to launch a crowdfunding campaign came to us from so many supporters that we looked into it. We have always been concerned about protecting our vision to implement this in the way that we think will have the most benefit: creating American jobs rather than outsourcing and then adding manufacturing facilities in other countries. That way we could help the economies everywhere providing many thousands of jobs. We have a vision for the way our facilities will be – campus like – with a positive atmosphere. We want to use as many recycled materials as we can and keep our manufacturing process as green as possible. We could go on, but you get the picture. If we can raise enough funds here, we won’t have to take on an investor and we won’t have to worry about losing our focus. If you like our vision and want to help, we’d be honored to have you in our corner.
Here is an artist’s rendering of what it someday could look like:
It could also be used in parking lots:
Definitely something you wish you’d thought of first.