American engineer Scott Brusaw's photovoltaic, LED-imbued tiles could reduce greenhouse gases by 75%.
Back in 2012, electrical engineer Scott Brusaw saw potential on the street. Or, not on the street, but in it. And not just potential, either; potential energy.
Over the past few years, Brusaw has been hard at work on a project that could very well revolutionize energy-efficient transportation. Normally, we only think of roads as paved (and unpaved) pathways from place to place. Imbued with individually controllable LEDs, and photovoltaic cells, however, these simple infrastructural fundaments have the potential to power our entire nation.
Solar Roadways, Brusaw's plan to "pave" roads with tessellating solar tiles, is almost obvious in its effective elegance and simplicity. Not only can his Solar Roadways transmute the sun's energy directly into the grid, light up, and melt snow, Brusaw claims his "smart" streets could reduce greenhouse gases by up to 75%.
Asserts Brusaw, via Solar Roadways' running Indiegogo fund, "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 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." [Editor's note: click the link for Solar Roadways' actual usage statistics. You won't be disappointed.]
Solar Roadways give us hope. They're an ingenious invention with the potential to improve both infrastructure and many existing environmental issues-at-large. Our real question is, what took us so long?
Below, video documentation, photographs, and renderings of the solar tiles that make up Scott Brusaw's Solar Roadways: