A look into solar-paneled roadways

August 4, 2014 12:00 AM

As we look to the future, it is clear that alternative energy sources will play an important role in the everyday lives of Americans. Across the country, people are looking for new ways to avoid using fossil fuels, and one interesting new concept is the use of solar panels built into roadways. 

A look into the product
Scott Brusaw, an electrical engineer from Idaho, has created special solar panels that are meant to be driven on, reported U.S. News & World Report. His hexagonal panels are meant to withstand the hardships that all roads face, such as winter weather, rain and pressure from the fast-paced vehicles that travel over roadways. The technology is currently being used for his company's parking lot and is expanding to walkways and driveways. Brusaw's goal is to eventually create highways made out of his solar panels.

The news organization stated that Brusaw has obtained $850,000 from the federal government and raised more than $2 million on crowd-funding website, Indiegogo. Crowdfund Insider reported that he has received donations from over 47,000 supporters. His idea is certainly taking flight. 

While the crowd-funding was initially not working, reported U.S. News, it picked up steam after getting the attention of some famous fans. Brusaw created a popular YouTube video that showcased his prototype, the solar-panel parking lot, and got the attention of Hollywood. Actor George Takei of "Star Trek," as well as the TV show "MythBusters," mentioned the company and got his product a lot of attention.

"We can produce three times more power than we use as a nation," Brusaw told Crowdfund Insider, describing the benefits of his product. "That will eliminate the need for coal-fired power plants."

While the energy source seems to be feasible, critics of the technology worry about the cost of the roads. The idea for solar-paneled roads is still in its primary stages and is just barely starting to be tested. Brusaw has yet to be able to estimate what the cost of a large project, such as creating a highway out of the panels, would be, U.S. News reported. Skeptics also wonder about the panels' ability to withstand the wear and tear of vehicle tires and inclement weather.

Despite this, this new technology is certainly a look into what the future could hold. As industries start to look forward, green technology certainly seems to be where the country could be heading.

Back to news