There are about 31,251 square miles of roads, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, and sidewalks in the lower 48 states. If Julie and Scott Brusaw have their way, they will all someday be replaced with solar panels.
For the better part of a decade, the Idaho couple has been working on energy efficiency by prototyping an industrial-strength panel that could withstand the weight of even the largest trucks. They now appear to have cracked the formula, developing a specially textured glass coating for the panels that can not only bear tremendous loads but also support standard tire traction.
By their reckoning, at peak installation their panelized roads could produce more than three times the electricity consumed in the U.S.
The material could power electric vehicles through a receiver plate mounted beneath the vehicle and a transmitter plate is installed in the road.
The project has already received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, and last year featured in Google‘s Moonshot series. They’re now incorporated as Solar Roadways.
Right now, they’re looking to raise $1 million on IndieGogo to move beyond the prototype and into production. Since announcing the campaign three weeks ago, they’ve received $112,000.
If you’re wondering why they’re choosing crowdfunding given the potentially large interest from investors, so have many others. Their reason for doing so is rather noble. As they explain on their website :
The idea to launch a crowdfunding campaign came to us from so many supporters that we looked into it. We have always been concerned about protecting our vision to implement this in the way that we think will have the most benefit: creating American jobs rather than outsourcing and then adding manufacturing facilities in other countries. That way we could help the economies everywhere providing many thousands of jobs. We have a vision for the way our facilities will be – campus like – with a positive atmosphere. We want to use as many recycled materials as we can and keep our manufacturing process as green as possible. We could go on, but you get the picture. If we can raise enough funds here, we won’t have to take on an investor and we won’t have to worry about losing our focus. If you like our vision and want to help, we’d be honored to have you in our corner.
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