This is part of a longer article about solar roadways. Very interesting.
We are excited to announce that Indiegogo has asked us to join their InDemand program: It allows teams to re-open their campaigns and continue raising funds for their projects.
We are very excited about this for many reasons:
∑ We've had numerous requests since our original campaign ended: "Can I still donate?", "Can I still get a Solar Roadways perk?", "I'd love to be a part of this movement", etc. Many people hadn't even heard about Solar Roadways until after the campaign had ended. Now, everyone can join in and become a part of Solar Roadways history.
∑ We're still in Research & Development, so we're not making a profit yet. Therefore, we can still use your help. One of the things on our wish list is to do some more civil engineering (road) testing. We would also love to make some of our own machinery. The more of the production we can do ourselves and the more we can streamline it, the more we can keep costs down. The more money we can raise, the faster we can proceed to make our product available to the world.
∑ We received donations from 165 countries, which is a clear indication that the world is ready for the paradigm shift Solar Roadways will become. We can't tell you what that level of support and encouragement has meant to us.
∑ Since our campaign, countless supporters have expressed what it means to them to help us spread the word. We need an educational component to create momentum. People tell us that the bumper stickers they put on their cars, the tote bags in their shopping carts, and the pendants around their necks provide a fun and effortless way for them to start conversations with others and we so appreciate that!
What's been happening since we closed our original campaign?
Perks! We had over 48,000 donors - an Indiegogo record for that time. That equated to over 30,000 perks to process. Most of that was done by four generations of family members while Scott continued with the engineering work.
Paperwork! Due to the Indiegogo campaign, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was nice enough to extend our Phase II SBIR contract final report deadline. We completed a successful construction and testing contract with the FHWA at the end of the year.
Renovation/moving - we wrapped up our original campaign in June. Soon after, we were hard at work searching for an economical and suitable building to purchase in Sandpoint, Idaho. Thanks to your generous donations, Solar Roadways was able to go from a "garage operation" to a more traditional business. Our "new" building needed work: we required both office space for engineers and shop space for manufacturing. We couldn't find anything ideal, so we improvised and renovated an 18-year-old shop building to meet our needs.
Hiring! Scott and Julie are no longer working alone - there are now five of us and we're still growing. The interviewing process continues...
​Engineering! We are hard at work with our team making some exciting changes to our panels in anticipation of our first public installations later this year. We are focusing on making the panels more efficient, easy to install, and cost effective.
What are the short term goals?
We have several potential public pilot projects shaping up in Sandpoint, Idaho. All are within ten minutes of our new building. The ones we can currently discuss are:
Amtrak train station platforms
Sandpoint Airport (parking areas and tarmac)
Sandpoint Welcome Center parking lot
Animal shelter parking lot
Sandpoint downtown city sidewalks
There are additional potential projects in the works, which we are not currently at liberty to discuss. Hint - many of them are extremely exciting and we can't wait to share when we have permission!
Our intent is to install as many of these projects as possible later this year. We'll monitor each of the installations and correct any glitches. Since we have already monitored our own prototype parking lot for four seasons, we don't expect many problems, but these will be public installations, so we may have a new learning curve!
After we're convinced that our panels are commercially ready, we'll make them available to the world - if all goes according to plan, that should take place in 2016. The first product available will be for non-critical applications such as parking lots, driveways, bike paths, sidewalks, etc.
What are the long term goals?
While we're supplying the non-critical application product, we'll continue working with civil engineering labs to make the product ready for roads and highways. There are still several tests to be performed before we will be ready for our biggest challenge - highways: advanced loading, sound testing, shear testing, deflective testing, etc. Once all of these tests have been passed, we should be ready for the world's roadways!
Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds... literally any surface under the sun. They help pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole (http://solarroadways.com/numbers.shtml
). They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a "home" for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking lots and driveways and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.
Did you know:
∑ Solar Roadways has received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for research and development.
∑ Our glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing, and impact resistance testing in civil engineering laboratories around the country, and exceeded all requirements.
∑ Solar Roadways was chosen as a finalist in the IEEE Ace Awards in 2009 and 2010.
∑ Solar Roadways is a modular system that will modernize our aging infrastructure with an intelligent system that can become the new Smart Grid. In GE's Ecomagination Challenge, we won the Community Award of $50,000 by getting the most votes for "Powering the Grid" in 2010. We had the most votes again in their 2011 Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Home".
∑ On August 21, 2013, Solar Roadways was selected by their peers as a Finalist in the World Technology Award For Energy, presented in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, and Science.
∑ Solar Roadways was chosen by Google to be one of their Moonshots in May of 2013.
∑ Solar Roadways was chosen by Popular Science as one of the 100 Greatest Innovations of the Year 2014
∑ Solar Roadways has given presentations around the country including: TEDx Sacramento, Google's Solve for X at Google's NYC Headquarters, NASA, Keynote Speaker for the International Parking Institute's Conference and much more...
∑ Solar Roadways is tackling more than solar energy: The FHWA tasked us with addressing the problem of stormwater. Currently, over 50% of the pollution in U.S. waterways comes from stormwater. We have created a section in our Cable Corridors for storing, treating, and moving stormwater.
∑ The implementation of our concept on a grand scale could create thousands of jobs in the U.S. and around the world. It could allow us all the ability to manufacture our way out of our current economic crisis.
Please visit our FAQ page on our website: Solar Roadways FAQ
In the Press:
Scott and Julie are the co-inventors of Solar Roadways. Scott is an Electrical Engineer (MSEE) and Julie is a Counselor (MA LCPC LMFT). Scott has worked in the engineering field for over 25 years and his main fields of expertise are in hardware, firmware, and software. We started working on our project in 2006. It's been quite a journey taking our concept from a dream to where we are today, poised to become product ready and make the world a safer, greener place.
Would you like to join us?
We've come a long way since our project was just as inspiration! It's been an exciting journey, but also a tremendous amount of work for two people and occasional part time volunteers. Now, thanks to our supporters on Indiegogo, we're hiring a team to help us move into production. We are blessed to have a multitude of potential customers, even before we are product ready. Many have been waiting on redoing driveways, parking lots, etc. hoping that we will be ready to give them the solar option they want.
Our new facility in Sandpoint has the space to house our engineers and gives us a light manufacturing facility to get started. We need to make a few tweaks to our product and streamline our manufacturing process so that we can make our panels available to the public as quickly as possible.
If you love our concept, but aren't able to contribute financially, no worries. There are so many other ways to help out. We appreciate those who tell us they talk about Solar Roadways with people they meet. It helps us when people join in on our social media pages to "like", comment, share, tweet, and pin. We have to give a special shout out to our wonderful Facebook fans who have formed a sort of grass roots movement to help spread the word and move us forward. When we started our original Indiegogo campaign in April of 2014, we have about 6,000 Facebook fans. Today, we have over 72,000. Thank you to each and every one of you!
The implementation of our Solar Roadways project on a grand scale would change the world as we know it in significant ways. Imagine the possibilities of a post Solar Roadways world: Your home could be all or nearly off grid thanks to your solar driveway (which you no longer have to shovel or plow if you live in the north), patio, or walkways etc. When you leave home, you'll be driving on Solar Roadways which are snow and ice free, pothole free, and the LEDs help you see the lines clearly and easily, especially at night when many people suffer night blindness. A study in the UK showed that LED markers on road lines reduced nighttime accidents by 70-percent. If there is danger ahead from a deer in the road or a sudden accident, the intelligent road can sense this and warn you to "Slow Down". This will save the lives of countless animals and keep people safer too. If you go somewhere new, the intelligent road can direct you with an LED-lit arrow that you follow to your destination. If you have an EV, you can stop and charge at a solar parking lot while you work, shop or eat, using clean energy from the sun. Eventually, you'll be able to charge while you drive via mutual induction panels. Solar Roadways will provide the infrastructure to make this possible.
Snow melting test
The parking lot of your favorite store would be snow/ice free and lit with LEDs. Handicapped spaces will be created as needed so they no longer have to be dedicated. EVs can charge in the parking lot while you shop and business owners could also choose to offer some preferred parking spaces to EV owners. They could offer smaller spaces for motorcycles, larger spaces for RVs and trucks, all changeable at the touch of the managerís computer button. The parking configuration itself can be changed as needed with presets too. Imagine your favorite sports arena all lit up with LED filled parking lots and walkways in team colors, perhaps displaying images of your favorite players on the walkway as you approach. Imagine going to an amusement park with solar walkways that change colors by area, event, time, or any other variable. Think of all of the tarmac at airports just baking in the sun. Our panels could not only generate large amounts of power, but pilots tell us they could be used to provide signage visible to them from the air.
A mountain of recycled glass - we used 1600 pounds in our base layer
We are concerned about all of the mountains of trash in our landfills and even worse - in our oceans. We want to utilize recycled materials wherever possible. We were able to use recycled glass as ten percent of the aggregate in our base layer for our prototype parking lot and we want to work with materials engineers to use as many recycled materials as we can at every phase of production.
All of the ugly overhead cables that mar our landscape and are susceptible to damage from ice, can have a home now in our Cable Corridors, where utility workers can access them easily. There will be no more cell phone dead spots and no more need for cell towers due to the "leaky" cables that can be installed in the Cable Corridor. It would be a home for fiber optic internet too, bringing high speed internet to everyone.
The other side of our Cable Corridors will also store, treat and redistribute stormwater. Our lakes and rivers and oceans become polluted by stormwater which is rain water that picks up things like pesticides from lawns and oil from roads and makes its way into the nearest body of water. When it's collected in Cable Corridors, it can be treated on site or moved to treatment centers or to wherever it's needed such as agricultural centers, aquifers, or helping drought stricken areas for example. In parking lots, water can be treated and then delivered to landscaping or wherever the business owner wants it to go. We can have cleaner water to enjoy while protecting fish and whales and all of the amazing sea creatures that depend on our wisdom.
In America, our infrastructure is badly in need of updating. State DOTs are struggling for money and are not able to keep up with maintenance the way they would like to. We were thrilled when the Federal Highway Administration expressed an interest in what we were doing and provided us the funding to move our concept forward.
Solar Roadways can also become the Smart Grid. The roads that already traverse each country are perfect for becoming the grid that carries our power. It will allow us to create an organized system, a decentralized system which is secure and protected, unlike the current centralized power stations. Solar Roadways can become the hub which welcomes other types of renewable energy and other inventions into the Smart Grid for distribution.
Our grand vision includes the ability to help in various ways where there is a need. In times of disasters, such as earthquakes or tsunamis, lack of power hinders rescue workers. After the Haiti Earthquake, we were asked if we could send some panels. Unfortunately, we were not product ready, but it made us realize how much our panels could help in such situations. They could be dropped in by helicopter and set up to provide a triage center for medical care and food distribution. There would be solar energy and light to help with current needs.
We often hear from third world countries such as African countries that desperately want our panels to help provide needed power. That power can be used to create clean drinking water and energy to run lights and computers for education.
We worry about Climate Change. We keep hearing reports that it's happening faster than expected. We can help by easing and then eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels. We began our project with the goal of helping with environmental issues and then realized our concept would help the world in so many other ways too.
So a post Solar Roadways world could be very different from the one we live in today. If you would welcome these changes, please join with us to help bring it about.
More About Parking Lots
Our solar parking lots will offer many benefits to business owners. The solar energy alone could eliminate their monthly electric bill and would likely allow them to send power back to the grid, turning their parking lot into a source of profit.
The lots will be intelligent and the LED lights can reflect that intelligence in a myriad of ways. Managers will be able to change parking configurations at the touch of a button. Different sizes can be offered: smaller spaces for motorcycles, larger ones for RVs etc. VIP spaces can be created for special visitors and then deleted just as quickly when they are gone. Some lot owners might want to give priority parking to EV owners and of course EV charging can be made available using standard plug in chargers or mutual induction plates.
EVs would be charging with the clean energy from the sun, instead of charging with fossil fuels, which is the current standard. Instead of dedicating a certain number of spaces for handipcapped drivers, such spaces could be created as needed, as the video below illustrates. Retail owners could track customer trends and with feedback from the intelligent lot regarding capacity at different times.
Our Cable Corridors will be able to treat their stormwater on site. Water can be used for landscaping, grey water, etc.
Business owners who are early adopters are likely to find that their new parking lot has become a tourist attraction, drawing people to their business while showing the world their commitment to helping the environment, in the most obvious possible way.
An intelligent parking lot can determine if a parking space is occupied or not. Once all available handicapped spaces are filled, an empty space is converted to an additional handicapped space. With this method, a parking lot will never run out of handicapped spaces.
How can your donation help?
Your donations to our original campaign allowed us to acquire and renovate a building to meet our needs, hire staff, and purchase needed equipment. We're still in the process of hiring engineers.
We feel truly blessed and overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from around the world. The time for Solar Roadways has come, and you each now have a part in it - thank you so very much!