Idaho Startup Wants to Pave Roads With Glass Solar Panels

Image credit: Solar Roadways

An Idaho couple has developed a modular paving system of solar panels that can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, as well as playgrounds, and generate electricity to power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots.

Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of Solar Roadways, envision a nationwide system that could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole.

Solar Roadways has received two phases of funding from the US Federal Highway Administration for research and development of a paving system that will pay for itself over its lifespan. The company is about to complete its Phase II contract to build a prototype parking lot, and now needs to raise funding for production.

To make this dream a reality, the couple has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $1 million. As of this writing, they already have raised nearly $250,000 with 11 days to go.

The Brusaws say the company’s glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing and impact resistance in civil engineering laboratories around the country, and exceeded all requirements. This modular system could modernize an aging infrastructure with an intelligent system that can become the new Smart Grid.

Solar Roadways has been well-received by the public. The company won the Community Award of $50,000 by getting the most votes in GE's Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Grid" in 2010, and had the most votes again in its 2011 Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Home."

In 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 also chosen by Google to be one of their Moonshots in May of 2013. The company 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.

Besides solar energy generation, Solar Roadways also is working on stormwater problems. Currently, over half of the pollution in US waterways comes from stormwater. The company has created a section in its Cable Corridors for storing, treating and moving stormwater.

The implementation of the Solar Roadways concept on a mass scale could create thousands of jobs in the US and around the world, the company claims. It could allow help the US to “manufacture its way” out of the current economic crisis.

Speaking of electrical innovations, a Japanese startup called Power Japan Plus recently launched a new battery technology that generates twice as much energy as a lithium ion battery and charges 20 times faster. The technology could lead to cheaper long-range electric vehicles (EV) that can travel hundreds of miles on a charge and be charged in minutes rather than hours.


Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a writer, thinker and strategic communicator who revels in helping drive the conversation at the intersection of sustainable business and public policy. He studied Political Science and History at the University of California,… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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