An Idaho couple is using the Internet to fund their Solar Roadways project that would convert roads and highways into photovoltaic arrays, which they say could produce enough energy to power the entire US.
Scott and Julie Brusaw are using crowd-funding website Indiegogo in an attempt to raise $1 million to manufacture the product commercially, reports SingularityHub.
The product (artist’s impression pictured) previously received two rounds of funding from the Federal Highways Administration, buy that contract is set to expire in July.
Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of hexagonal solar panels that can withstand up to 250,000 pounds of pressure. These panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks and bike paths, and the panels contain LEDs that road managers can light up to display lane lines and other road features that would traditionally be painted.
The surface of the panels, which are about the size of a car tire, is covered with hexagonal bumps that SingularityHub reports offer better traction than asphalt.
According to the crowd-funding website, panels pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more renewable energy than a country uses as a whole, the website says.
The roadways also have the ability to treat stormwater. Currently, over half of the pollution in US waterways comes from stormwater, according to Solar Roadways. The company has created stormwater treatment and storage areas in the pipelines used for housing cable.
Earlier this month, the Energy Department announced plans to use crowdsourcing in an attempt to spur innovation in the US solar marketplace.