Published on June 12th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro
Video: Are Solar Roadways Too Good To Be True?
June 12th, 2014 by Christopher DeMorro
One of the most popular videos to go viral recently was that of Solar Freakin’ Roadways, an out-there concept to turn all of America’s roads into LED-equipped solar panels. Is Solar Roadways the real deal? YouTuber ThunderfOOt thinks it’s a bad idea, and he put together a lengthy takedown video in response.
To recap, Scott and Julie Brusaw recently started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for their project, Solar Roadways, which wants to replace asphalt roads with high-strength glass-encased solar panels and LEDs. These roads would power themselves and the grid, could be lit up at night and be programmed to flash warning messages or change lane setups. It’s a clever, sci-fi-esque idea, and the Brusaws think they can make it work.
ThunderfOOt thinks otherwise.
In a nearly 30-minute video, the YouTube commentator explains point-by-point why he thinks Solar Roadways is full of crap. His main qualm is with the idea of using glass as a replacement of for asphalt, and he claims that even the hardest glass couldn’t stand up to the constant battering of 20-ton semi-trucks grinding sand into them day in and day out. Sounds like a point for engineers to argue if I’m honest.
That’s only one of the issues raised by this takedown video, as Thunderf00t correctly points out that many roads rarely if ever see the light of day thanks to traffic, trees, or just bad weather. Converting all of Seattle’s roads into solar panels wouldn’t do much to help the city’s power grid when it’s constantly overcast. And that’s not even factoring in the tremendous cost of converting even a small fraction of our roads into solar panels.
However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the Brusaws have been working on Solar Roadways for years now, and to call this a con or scam is doing all of their hard work a disservice. While I don’t doubt that Solar Roadways may have some issues it needs to sort out, I have a hard time believing that this is some kind of “long con” given the length of time and the number of government loopholes the Brusaws have had to jump through. Their two million-dollar (and counting) IndieGoGo campaign may seem impressive, but stretch that out over at least 5 years of development time, minus all the research and materials, and suddenly that number doesn’t seem so mighty anymore.
All in all, it’s worth watching just for a second, informed-sounding opinion, though we’re still fans of Solar Roadways. What about you?
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
Haven’t taken our 2016 reader survey yet? Do so now!