The solar roads concept isn’t new. Countries—U.S., France, Netherlands—are testing ways to pave roads with solar panels.
SolaRoad, the world’s first “solar road,” has been in operation in the Netherlands since November 2014, but it’s already generating more power than expected.
A similar Idaho-based project, Solar Roadways, whose Indiegogo campaign became extremely successful when their video went viral last year.
The French government also plans to pave 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of its roads with solar panels in the next five years, which will supply power to millions of people!
The latest model of Solar Roadways’ electricity-generating paving panel (Image Source: GCR / Solar Roadways)
Now, A year after it kicked off its Road to Tomorrow initiative in the US’ Kansas City, the Missouri Department of Transportation recently unveiled several pilot projects to address future transportation and funding, reports The Kansas City Star.
The electricity-generating panels developed by the pioneering Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of the company Solar Roadways will be used at the Historic Route 66 Welcome Center at Conway. It will become the country’s first solar roadway panels on a public right of way.
The team Solar Roadways – Scott and Juie Brusaw – have been working on their system for 12 years, and got a boost in 2009 in the form of a $100,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to build a prototype solar road panel.
A concept rendering of a solar-paved highway (Image Source: GCR / Solar Roadways)
They have claimed that paving all of America’s roads and parking lots with the panels would generate 13,385 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, more than three times the amount the whole country consumed in 2009.
“If their version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves,” said Tom Blair, leader of the department’s Road to Tomorrow Initiative, according to the newspaper The Kansas City Star.
In this, the department will be hoping to replicate the success of Solar Roadways’ 2014 crowdfunding campaign, in which they raised $2.2m in two months, more than double their target of $1m. (Source: GCR)