The concept of using roads as solar cells seems like a great idea until you start considering all of the damage that streets regularly have to handle. From freezing water to overloaded vehicles, the nation's highways take a lot of punishment. However, that isn't stopping Solar Roadways from refining its concept for a sun-powered surface that you can drive on. It's latest big step is raising over $1.5 million in a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo that ends on May 31. We think the energetic solar freakin' roadway video (available below) had more than a little to do with attracting attention to the project.
Solar Roadways concept uses a textured glass surface embedded with solar cells to generate electricity, melt snow and even show safety warnings through integrated LEDs. They claim it can withstand 250,000-pounds of weight. The fully solar road is still a plan for the future, though. The company hopes to start small with parking lots, driveways and sidewalks. The business has already received grants of $100,000 and $750,000 from the Department of Transportation to prove the concept.
The company's nascent success isn't without its detractors. According to The Verge, some experts believe that replacing the road network with solar panels isn't economically feasible, and the company's promises are too vague. The country can barely keep the current infrastructure funded, let alone replace it with an unproven solution. Also, Solar Roadways lost out on funding from major tech investors like GE and Google and GigaOM's Katie Fehrenbacher says that we should be focusing on putting solar on rooftops before roads, anyway. Time will tell.
Project to Turn Roadways into Clean Energy Power Source Attracts Record Number of Funders
Indiegogo's most popular campaign ever Solar Roadways https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways is now extended through June 20 after attracting a record number of funders with more than 38,000 contributions from all 50 states and 42 countries around the world.
Solar Roadways is the brainchild of Sandpoint, Idaho couple Julie and Scott Brusaw who have raised more than $1.8 million dollars on Indiegogo after getting started with a small federal grant. The initiative has the potential to change the way we utilize the nation's millions of miles of roadways and other surfaces- by turning them into power sources.
The Solar Roadways team says that in addition to creating a new, clean energy source Solar Roadways will also:
• improve road safety by providing LED lighting that replaces paint and can be changed at the touch of a button
• prevent accidents by providing advance illuminated warning of animals or debris on the road
• create an environmentally friendly way to melt snow without salt and sand
Indiegogo launched in 2008 as the world's first crowdfunding platform and is dedicated to allowing anyone, anywhere to fundwhat matters to them. As the world's funding engine, Indiegogo democratizes access to capital and helps innovators around the world improve society by turning their ideas into reality.