What if all roads could have solar panels? Imagine the amount of electricity a country could generate that way. Solar is perhaps limited in regions because of land which is a limited resource but road apart from people driving on them are of little use anyway, so this twin use policy of using roads for generation of electricity could radically transform energy security. The idea is so simple, that one wonders why research labs can never come up with it.
The project is envisioned by Julie and Scott Brusaw. While Scott is an electrical engineer (MSEE) with over 20 years of industry experience, Julie has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Humboldt State University in northern California.
The team has ideas for two kinds of roads, one with a semi-smooth walking surface on which you could drive a car safely and another with raised hexagons that is more ideal for highways and can stop a car going 80-mph on a wet surface. The roads are as safe as the traditional roads and slip is not an issue. The walking surface can also be used for sidewalks, bike paths, driveways, parking lots, etc. Best part is that the current road can be reused unless of course you are talking of roads in India.
These solar panels are self sufficient in monetary terms as they pay for themselves because of electricity generation. Solar Roadways project has already received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for R&D.
The project was a finalist in the World Technology Award For Energy, was chosen by Google to be one of their Moonshots in May, 2013 and was also a finalist in the IEEE Ace Awards in 2009 and 2010.