Scott Brusaw's solution to hot roadways and wasted energy is to create roads from solar panels.
Solar Roadways is the brain child of Scott Brusaw of Sacramento, CA. Replacing traditional petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots and driveways with structurally-engineered solar panels that can withstand the weight and impact of moving vehicles.
The solar panels reduce the need for petroleum while providing energy for nearby residencies and businesses. The larger goal is to reduce or eradicate the need for fossil fuels through the use solar roadways to meet energy demands for the US, creating a decentralized power grid.
Beyond solar power collection, the roadways also function as an intelligent data transfer system, connecting any areas connected by a series of Solar Road Panels.
Brusaw imagines roadways across the US interconnected through Solar Road Panels, allowing the West Coast to power the East Coast in the final hours of the day or the East Coast to power the West Coast in the early morning. All electric vehicles would have easily accessible charging stations all along these powered roads, encouraging the predominant use of electric vehicles over internal combustion engines.
Each panel has three basic layers:
Road Surface Layer - translucent and high-strength, it is rough enough to provide great traction, yet still passes sunlight through to the solar collector cells embedded within, along with LEDs and a heating element. It is capable of handling today's heaviest loads under the worst of conditions. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer beneath it.
Electronics Layer - Contains a microprocessor board with support circuitry for sensing loads on the surface and controlling a heating element. No more snow/ice removal and no more school/business closings due to inclement weather. The on-board microprocessor controls lighting, communications, monitoring, etc. With a communications device every 12 feet, the Solar Roadway is an intelligent highway system.
Base Plate LayerLayer - While the electronics layer collects energy from the sun, it is the base plate layer that distributes power (collected from the electronics layer) and data signals (phone, TV, internet, etc.) "downline" to all homes and businesses connected to the Solar Roadway. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer above it.
(Source: Solar Roadways)
In 2009, the Federal Highway Administration contracted Solar Roadways to build their first Solar Road Panel Prototype and the Department of Energy recently gave Solar Roadways a $100,000 grant to develop the 12-by-12-foot solar panels. Each 12-by-12-foot Solar Roadway panel would produce about 7,600 watt-hours a day, based on an average of four hours of sunlight. At that rate, a one-mile stretch of four-lane highway could power about 500 homes.