Solar Roadway to a sustainable future
As a homeowner and South African resident, staring at your clock and waiting for the lights to go off at their scheduled time has become a regular occurrence. It often leaves us wondering how we can play our part to make a difference to the energy crisis. Have a look at our load shedding solutions as a starting point; and read on for an inspiring story about Solar Roads in the US. It’s a great example of big picture thinking – taking long-term green solutions to the next level.
As power outages rise globally, scientists, environmentalists, electricians and engineers alike try to find alternative, sustainable solutions to combat these issues. There are many innovative and exciting projects underway, and one particular 21st century hero’s invention is an extraordinary way to pave a sustainable future for our descendants to enjoy.
IndieGoGo is a crowd funding initiative that supplies funding to worthy causes in the United States. Their latest project Solar Roadways has a clear vision to use fairly obvious underutilised spaces to generate power. Roads are the perfect example of such a space, with a constant penetration of UV light and an area that covers vast kilometres in every country, it is the ideal solution to generation power.
In 2006, with the phrase “Global warming” gaining traction, Scott and Julie Brusaw decided to play around with the idea of replacing asphalt and concrete surfaces with structurally-engineered solar panels capable of being driven upon. This idea would require strong, transparent and self-cleaning glass that was able to protect sensitive electronics underneath it, much like a “black box” on an aeroplane.
The initial idea that they proposed to the Federal Highway Administration was to create a material that housed solar cells and would in turn collect energy, so that it would be able to pay for itself. They would use LED lighting to ‘paint’ road lines beneath the solar panels surface and would make it safe for motorists to drive at night. If snow fell, a heating element would be installed that cleared the way and prevented ice acclamation.
In 2009 these ideas become a reality with the Federal Highway Administration supplying funding for the first Solar Road Panel Prototype. Since then they have gone on to create a phase two prototype with the help of IndieGoGo and the U.S government.
Inspired and ready to follow Scott and Julie’s journey from the initial idea to creating a Solar Roadway that can one day become a global solution? Watch these two videos: