Dick Uliano, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – The roads of the future might not be paved in asphalt, but in solar panels.
Scott Brusaw, co-founder of Idaho-based Solar Roadways, is under a federal contract and is building a solar-paneled parking lot prototype that he says can withstand the weight of a semi-tractor trailer.
“If we can make a solar panel durable enough to take what an 18-wheeler can do to it and place this on sidewalks, bikeways, parking lots and roads, then we can start collecting that energy,” Brusaw says.
Take a bird’s eye view of a traffic jam and you’ll notice even when roadways are full there’s exposed asphalt. The same goes for parking lots.
“We’ve got a little over 28,000 square miles of asphalt and concrete surfaces exposed to the sun in the U.S. alone and it just sits there all day long, doing nothing with the energy,” he says.
Brusaw believes he’ll begin producing solar-paneled parking lots in about a year. He envisions stores like Walmart with parking lots capable of providing the store’s electrical power.
He foresees solar roadways being developed first in residential neighborhoods, and then later on major roadways.
So far, Brusaw says NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and potential customers around the world have expressed interest in the project.
Watch the video below to learn more about Solar Roadways:
Follow @WTOP on Twitter.