Posted by on August 3, 2014

What makes solar roadways different?

Certain inventions are so revolutionary, they change the way we think and interact with the world. From Edison’s incandescent light bulb to Tesla’s alternating current, Bell’s telephone and Marconi’s radio, the instant these proverbial monoliths hit the scene, life is never the same.

Enter Solar Roadways co-founders, Julie and Scott Brusaw – two modern visionaries reshaping our view of the future. Their groundbreaking work on solar roadways is more than just a technological advancement; it is one of the most promising renewable energy solutions for cleansing the world of fossil fuel consumption we’ve seen in a long while.

Solar Roadways

Julie and Scott Brusaw with their Solar Roadway prototype

The logic is so plainly stated in the prototypes, it is hard to picture a world where this incredible invention is not at the center of our increasingly interconnected web of renewable energy solutions.

Solar Roadways – What Makes Them Tick?

Encased in a super-strong textured, tempered glass, each tile of the road contains solar cells overlaying a circuit board and microprocessor. Subject to rigorous load testing, traction testing and impact resistance testing, the tiles are pressure sensitive, heated, and packed with LED lights.

Let’s pause for a moment and imagine the sprawling cocoon of urban heat islands checker-boarding the developed world being replaced by energy creating oases of solar cells. Think of the energy savings, reduction of emissions and water conservation that accompanies cooler temperatures (as pointed out by the EPA), and then multiply that across the globe. This single benefit alone should have you rejoicing over the potential of solar roadways.

But that’s not all solar roadways offer humanity. Not even close.

“Along the way we realized that our project could solve a lot more problems than just greenhouse gases and our dependency on fossil fuels.” Scott Brusaw says on YouTube.

When it comes to solar roadways, the greatest benefits are in the intricacies of it’s design – smarter than a Swiss watch and arguably better looking when the lights go down.

The microprocessor, for instance, serves as a two-way communications device, making it the perfect complement to driverless cars and other emerging technologies pioneered by Google.

With 120 LEDs in each panel , and five different colors, an endless mosaic of possibility emerges for creating any light show, graphic or pattern you wish. In short, the solar roads have the added ‘sexiness’ of twinkling like a school of iridescent fish in the far reaches of our imaginations.

Much prettier than your average road

With the ability to stay heated and prevent snow or frost build up, not only will winter driving be easier and safer, but driving in all seasons will be better lit, more responsive and able to integrate with advancements in safety and smart technology.

We can look forward to customizable and awe inspiring designs to fit any utilitarian or aesthetic based need. From ball courts and dance floors, to easily rearranged parking lots and roadways, literally any pattern conceivable can be programmed into the roads to serve our needs.

Just one possible vision of the roadways in action

Beneath these magnificent roads, a crawl space provides two sections: one for storm water and the other for power and data. Everything from fiber optic, cable and telephone lines can be run beneath the road and easily serviced, simultaneously removing wires from exposure to the elements and making the need for unsightly overhead cables a bad memory.

For the storm water, Scott and Julie also see an opportunity for reducing pollution by whisking the runoff away to water treatment facilities, which can filter out toxins, runoff fertilizer and other water pollutants.

Harkening back to that pressure sensitive bit, there is also the added benefit of the preemptive detection of roadway obstructions. In short, imagine integrated smart road-to-car communication where a fallen boulder or the weight of an elk or moose can trigger sensors that alert your car to an upcoming obstruction. Again, just another benefit to add to the long list of improvements readily available in this brave new world.

Solar Roadways

Solar roadways in action

The prototype currently covers 69-percent of the road in the actual solar cells, but the final version will cover the full 100-percent.

Crushing their goal of $1 million on and earning a smashing $2.2 million, a clear fan base is emerging for taking this dream out of the ether and making it a reality.

Hello beautiful

“Now we need to bring in a team of the best and brightest people to help us improve it, streamline production and move us forward.” says Julie on YouTube. “To enable our vision, we will need to build manufacturing facilities in every state in the U.S. and nearly every country in the world.” echoes Scott.

Thanks for something new – solar roadways

It is no accident that the names Tesla, Marconi and Edison made it into the same article as the Brusaw family’s incredible story, as their boldness to challenge the status quo is enough inspiration to keep any green dreamer running.

We need the world to seize this idea and make it a reality. We need solar roadways to usher in the future energy paradigm, which anyone who can step outside of themselves knows is surely coming. Even if it’s not exactly in its current form, this technology will certainly work it’s way into the future renewable energy framework.

For more information on this incredible project, please visit the Brusaw’s website at


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