- Dan Walden
A "sigh of disappointment" filled the room of a Sandpoint press conference Friday, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. After learning that the Sept. 30 launch of a much-anticipated solar roadway project would be delayed, the crowd was quickly reassured that the that the solar-powered roadway in downtown Spokane would go live by Saturday afternoon.
The scene will be dramatically different than February 2010, when inventor Scott Brusaw demonstrated his concept inside a friend's garage, triggering a U.S. Department of Transportation grant, a 2014 visit to the White House, an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that topped $2.2 million, and a commitment from the city of Sandpoint to begin installing the solar panels in the northern Idaho community's downtown.
Brusaw told a crowd of about 150 on Friday that the curing process of the solar panels took a bit longer than expected, thus delaying the debut of the solar roadways. Saturday's unveiling will be modest—about 150 square feet in Sandpoint's town square. The panels are expected to light up traffic lines and caution messages on the pavement, and even melt snow and ice during inclement weather.
Brusaw said similar projects are in the works at other locations across the U.S., but his intent to is keep the headquarters of his company, Solar Roadways, in Sandpoint.