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Published on August 17th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar Roadways (the company) to Build Solar Panel Parking Lot (+ Top Transportation Stories)

August 17th, 2011 by  

Scott Brusaw, CEO of Solar Roadways, on a piece of a potential solar road. Image Credit: Solar Roadways

Solar roads have been a dream of countless cleantech lovers for awhile now. And there’s actually a company with the name Solar Roadways. We’ve written about the potential of solar roads and solar bike lanes a number of times over the years, but there’s news out now that Solar Roadways has received a $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to build a parking lot in Idaho paved with solar panels, the most practical application of the idea I’ve heard of in the U.S.

Sure eliminates “space issues” (as if we didn’t have enough roof space and space along the sides of roads and in other unused areas to power the country with solar).

And, if efficient enough (financially and energy-wise), these could eventually have a pretty significant impact on our society.

Solar Roadways complete a 12X12-foot solar road prototype last year, phase 1 of its development for the real world. “The prototype was made up of solar panels, heating elements, and a grid of wireless LED lights encased in durable glass that has the same traction as asphalt and doesn’t cause glare,” cnet reports. “The panels generate a total of 7.6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day that can be used to melt snow and ice, spell warnings for motorists, or be connected to weight sensitive panels that illuminate a crosswalk when activated.” Additionally, the solar road can be hooked up to a smart grid, transferring electricity generated to nearby homes, businesses, or electric cars.

With this new money, the Solar Roadways team will carry out phase 2, turning a typical old parking lot located at its electronics lab in Sandpoint, Idaho into a solar panel parking lot.

If successful, the next phase will be making solar sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways across the country. And then, perhaps, solar roadways.

More top transportation stories of the last week on page 2 –>>


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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