Solar Roadways Launches IndieGoGo Campaign To Find Funding



Harnessing the power of the sun, the Solar Roadways project wants to replace asphalt streets with solar-powered panels the light up and melt snow. While the project has received plenty of press, and even funding from the Department of Transportation, the family behind Solar Roadways has turned to crowdfunding site IndieGoGo in an attempt to raise one MILLION dollars.

From computer rendering to award-winning prototype, Solar Roadways founders Scott and Julie Brusaw have come a long way since the idea first surfaced in 2006. The concept is simple; harnessing solar power by day, at night the LED-embedded roadways can provide lane markers, replace street lamps, and warn motorists of traffic or accident situations. It seems totally sci-fi, but the Brusaw’s have built a working prototype next to their North Idaho workship, and it reportedly stayed free of snow and ice all winter long. The Brusaw’s want to take the next step towards production.

To be sure, it’s been a long road, and the innovative solar panel has had to overcome numerous technical issues. For example, how do you stop a car going 80 MPH on what is technically glass? Their solution was adding a textured surface that proved so effective, it broke a British Pendulum Testing apparatus. They since toned the traction back, and are confident their solar panels are every bit as grippy as regular asphalt.

Another benefit? Broken panels can be replaced without the need for repaving an entire section of road, and with an expected lifespan of 20 years, these panels could pay for themselves many times over. But to make it into production, Solar Roadways needs a lot more money, and their plan is to bring their LED streets to parking lots and sidewalks first, before tackling a major interstate. Yet the list of benefits is almost immeasurable, from lowering municipal power use to making lengthy and expensive road repairs a thing of the past. The first prototype parking lot is already installed, but the next step is a doozy.

They’re looking to raise a cool million bucks, though an infrastructure project like this needs a lot more money than that to really get the ball rolling. Are you down to pitch in?

Source: IndieGoGo | Solar Roadways

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Jerry

    The company is out again? Maybe they are running out of the DOE funding.

    • The DoT funding was slated for experimental research, not starting a company. They couldn’t have spent it on business expenses even if they’d wanted to do so.

  • Welcome to the 21st Century and a new way to harness the sun’s energy! What a brilliant idea – I love that it addresses our climate crisis AND our economic crisis in one product.

  • For more on this (and to find answers to whatever questions you might have), go here:

  • Jordan

    Solar panels are too expensive. What about utilizing the piezoelectric (force -> electricity) property of quartz? It’s more abundant than the materials used to make solar panels.

    • Solar panels are getting cheaper by the day, and Solar Roadways plans to use recycle . materials in their road panels.

  • RAMGarden

    Even if we just put this in every single parking lot on the planet it would generate more power than we would use.

  • Filip Ionita

    And how exactly would you prevent road wear? Also, what about the tyre wear on these?

    • BoiseBoy

      Good question, Filip. Have a look at the FAQs:

      “How much weight can these panels support? Semi-trucks get pretty heavy!

      Originally, we were designing toward 80,000 pounds. That was supposed
      to be the maximum legal limit for a semi-truck. However, we live in
      logging country and a former logging truck driver informed us that they
      don’t have scales in the woods and that he’d topped out at 124,000
      pounds. So we decided that we should go for 150,000 pounds. We then
      learned that oil companies can get permission to move refinery equipment
      up to 230,000 pounds on frozen roads, so we decided to shoot for
      250,000 pounds.

      Both 3D Finite Element Method analysis and actual load testing at civil
      engineering labs showed that our Solar Road Panels can handle that and

      • Filip Ionita

        That is not what I asked my friend. I would like to know how much faster my tyres would wear out from driving on these surfaces.Also, let’s say I was a hooner and wanted to do a burnout on these, how will they resist that?

        • BoiseBoy

          Not sure.. could be worth asking the SR guys.

          Here is a related area in their FAQ’s – I am guessing they are going for something close to asphalt texture. What’s a hooner?

          “What are you going to do about traction? What’s going to happen to the surface of the Solar Roadways when it rains>

          Everyone naturally pictures sliding out of control on a smooth piece
          of wet glass! Actually, one of our many technical specs is that it be
          textured to the point that it provides at least the traction that
          current asphalt roads offer – even in the rain. We hesitate to even call
          it glass, as it is far from a traditional window pane, but glass is
          what it is, so glass is what we must call it.

          We sent samples of textured glass to a university civil engineering lab
          for traction testing. We started off being able to stop a car going 40
          mph on a wet surface in the required distance. We designed a more and
          more aggressive surface pattern until we got a call form the lab one
          day: we’d torn the boot off of the British Pendulum Testing apparatus!
          We backed off a little and ended up with a texture that can stop a
          vehicle going 80 mph in the required distance.”

          • Filip Ionita

            Yea, I saw that. Still not answering my question. If the road is that textured, then the tyre wear would be greater too as it will chew up the tyres. A hooner is basically a street racer. So if I was to mess around with my car on these things, I wonder what would happen.

  • The (updated) Solar Roadways numbers page: