Solar Roadways

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Solar Roadways Inc
Startup
Founded 2006 (2006)
Founder
  • Scott Brusaw
  • Julie Brusaw
Headquarters 721 Pine Street,
Sandpoint, Idaho 83864,
United States [1]
Website solarroadways.com

Solar Roadways Incorporated is an American company based in Sandpoint, Idaho aiming to develop solar powered road panels to form a smart highway.

Their proof-of-concept technology combines a transparent driving surface with underlying solar cells, electronics and sensors to act as a solar array with programmable capability. The road panels are to be made from recycled materials and incorporate photovoltaic cells.[2][3] The project has received criticism in regards to its feasibility.

History[edit]

Solar Roadway panel prototypes

The company was founded in 2006 by Scott and Julie Brusaw, with Scott as President and CEO. They envisioned replacing asphalt surfaces with structurally-engineered solar panels capable of withstanding vehicular traffic.[3] The proposed system would require the development of strong, transparent, and self-cleaning glass with the necessary traction and impact-resistance properties at competitive cost.[4]

In 2009, Solar Roadways received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) for Phase I to determine the feasibility of the proposed project.[5] In 2011, Solar Roadways received $750,000 SBIR grant from the DOT for Phase II to develop and build a solar parking lot;[6] from this, they built a 12-by-36-foot (3.7 by 11.0 m) parking lot covered with hexagonal glass-covered solar panels sitting on top of a concrete base, heated to prevent snow and ice accumulation, with LEDs to illuminate road lines and display messages. According to the Brusaws, the panels can sustain a 250,000 lb (110,000 kg) load.[7]

In April 2014, the company started a crowdfunding drive at Indiegogo to raise money so they could get the product into production. The campaign raised 2.2 million dollars and became Indiegogo’s most popular campaign ever in terms of the number of backers it attracted.[8][9] The success was attributed in part to a tweet made by actor George Takei, due to his more than 8 million followers.[10][11] One of the Brusaws’ videos went viral, with over 20 million views as of November 2015.[11] In December 2015, the USDOT announced that it had awarded Solar Roadways a Phase IIB SBIR contract to further their research.[3] In 2016 they were given an additional $750,000.00 [12]

The first public installation was in Jeff Jones Town Square in Sandpoint, Idaho. It opened to the public on September 30, 2016. As a pilot install it is for walkways only.[13] This installation consists of 30 Solar Roadways SR3 panels covering an area of roughly 150 square feet. The cost of this installation was roughly $60,000 with the majority of the money coming from a grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce ($47,134), and a $10,000 grant from the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency.[14] A webcam was installed to broadcast a view of the installation.[15] The 30 tiles in Sandpoint aren’t yet generating power.[16] The City of Sandpoint's Proposed 2016-2017 budget includes $500,000 for future Solar Roadways projects.[17]

Criticism[edit]

In 2014, Jonathan Levine, a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan, expressed doubt regarding the political feasibility of the project on a national scale. He suggested, however, that a single town might be able to deploy the concept in a limited test case such as a parking lot.[18]

Journalist David Biello, writing in Scientific American, noted the difficulties of the project in dealing with material limitations, particularly in its choice of making the surface of the panels from glass, which "must be tempered, self-cleaning, and capable of transmitting light to the PV below under trying conditions, among other characteristics—a type of glass that does not yet exist."[19]

Sebastian Anthony noted in ExtremeTech that the cost to replace all roads in the United States with Solar Roadways panels would come to approximately $56 trillion, based on Scott Brusaw's cost estimate of $10,000 for a 12×12-foot section.[20] The USDOT announcement of Phase IIB funding in December 2015 mentioned that because the solar cells were still manufactured by hand, they were "very costly to produce".[3]

List of awards and honors[edit]

  • 2010 General Electric Ecomagination Community Award of $50,000.[21]
  • 2014 Popular Science. One of 7 "Best of What's New" Engineering category in the "100 Greatest Innovations of the Year-2014" article.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About". Solar Roadways. 
  2. ^ Scott, Cameron (May 22, 2014). "Following the Solar Brick Road". SingularityHUB. Singularity University. 
  3. ^ a b c d Michael Trentacoste (December 14, 2015). "New Pavement System... Supported by Solar Panels?". US Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 22, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Driving on Glass Solar Roads". Scientific American. October 6, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Solar Roadways: Phase I Grant". Small Business Innovation Research. 
  6. ^ "Solar Roadways: Phase II Grant". Small Business Innovation Research. 
  7. ^ Barry, Keith (May 8, 2014). "This Parking Lot Is Paved with Solar Panels". Wired. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ "New Pavement System... Supported by Solar Panels?". December 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Centuries-Old Technology Behind Solar Roadways, Indiegogo's Most Popular Campaign Ever". Forbes. June 3, 2014. 
  10. ^ Maben, Scott (May 31, 2014). "Star Trek: George Takei tweet boosts Solar Roadways". Christian Science Monitor. Associated Press. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "On the not so sunny side of the street". The Economist. June 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Solar Roadways - SBIR.gov". 
  13. ^ George Prentice (September 28, 2016). "Sandpoint Will Light Up Solar Roads This Friday". Boise Weekly. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  14. ^ "City Council Minutes 7/20/2016". Sandpoint, ID: City Council Minutes. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "World’s first ever public installation of Solar Roadways!". City of Sandpoint. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  16. ^ Dana Varinsky (5 October 2016). "Snow-melting solar roads are being tested publicly for the first time in the US". Business Insider. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  17. ^ "2016-2017 Proposed Budget page 14". City of Sandpoint. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "We Could Build a Solar Powered Roadway. But Will We?". Popular Mechanics. June 11, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Hard Road Ahead for Solar Freakin' Roadways". Scientific American. July 10, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ Anthony, Sebastian (May 27, 2014). "Solar Roadways passes $1.4 million in crowdfunding: Just short of the $56 trillion required, but not bad for a crazy idea". ExtremeTech. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  21. ^ Parrish DuDell, Michael (August 8, 2011). "Paving the Solar Roadway to Success". Ecomagination.com. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ Seward, Aaron (2014). "Best of What's New: Solar Roadways". Popular Science. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 

External links[edit]