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Sandpoint Will Light Up Solar Roads This Friday


  • Dan Walden
In February 2010, inventor Scott Brusaw demonstrated his concept for a solar road panel inside a friend's garage in the Bonner County town of Sagle. They videotaped the event and, soon thereafter, representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation came to talk to Brusaw about his idea. The feds eventually gave the northern Idaho electrical engineer a $100,000 grant to further research the concept of solar power-generating roads.

In 2014, Brusaw was invited to Washington, D.C., where he participated in the White House's first Maker Faire and even got some face time with Bill Nye (the Science Guy). That same year, Brusaw's Solar Roadways Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign topped $2.2 million, with donations coming in from all 50 states and 165 nations.

Now, on Friday, Sept. 30, Solar Roadways is scheduled to unveil its "first-even public demonstration" in Idaho's panhandle. KREM-TV reports the city of Sandpoint will be the first municipality in the nation to utilize roads that will feature solar panels and thousands of LED lights that will eliminate the need to paint traffic lines and caution messages on pavement. Most important, the micro- and macro-textures of the surface will be strong enough to support huge semi-tractor trailers. 

“We’ve got a little over 28,000 square miles of paved surfaces in the lower 48 states,” Brusaw told KREM-TV. “If we covered all those surfaces we’d produce three times more energy than we use.”