But one couple hopes to take this concept even further. Why limit solar in San Diego to rooftops and backyards?
Paving America’s Highways with Solar PV Panels?
As covered before, the Brusaws have developed industrial strength, hexagonal solar panels that are strong enough to support heavy vehicles (up to 200,000 pounds). They hope to use these panels to cover America’s highways – an ambitious initiative that could:
- Make clean solar energy truly ubiquitous
- Dramatically reduce our reliance on fossil fuel
- Create thousands of new green jobs
Still in the prototype phase, the concept shows tremendous promise. But it also has its share of detractors. Critics of the idea point out that:
- Paving the streets with glass poses a serious danger. However, the Brusaws have pioneered a no-slip glass polymer that allows vehicles to stop safely – even when it’s raining.
- Covering the entire country is prohibitively expensive. Each one of the hexagonal solar panels costs $10,000 (which is roughly the same as a standard residential solar PV system in San Diego). Based on these numbers, it would cost trillions of dollars to pave all of America’s highways.
And the critics are right. The idea is expensive.
But the same is true of all emerging technologies. Developing the 1st prototype is obscenely costly. But through investment, innovation, and economies of scale, it is possible to bring even the most unaffordable concepts within easy reach of the average consumer.
This explains why the Federal Highway Administration continues to support and monitor the Brusaws efforts. It has even invested grant money into the project.
Even more impressive, however, is the crowdsourcing campaign that the Brusaws recently launched on IndieGoGo.com. Their initial goal was $1 million. But they managed to raise twice that amount through small, individual contributions from those who believe the project has potential.
Solar in San Diego Could Look a Lot Different One Day
No one can say for certain whether solar-powered roadways will ever exist. And if the project does succeed, it might take years or even decades before America’s highways get covered with PV panels capable of harnessing free, clean sunshine.
But it’s a very cool concept. And it demonstrates how amazing solar energy truly is. Everywhere the sun shines represents a potential opportunity to capture and use green electricity.
We’ll keep you posted on the Brusaw’s developments.