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Imagine all the highways in the lower 48 states using solar powered technology layered under specially designed glass, replacing petroleum based asphalt. The result would be enough stored power to run nearly the entire world.
Think about it, what are roads if not a giant grid that connects everyone? Winners of GE’s Ecomaginaton Challenge, Scott and Julie Brusaw of Sagle, Idaho, have developed a road surface technology that uses glass, not asphalt, that collects and stores solar power. Receiving a contract from the Federal Highway Administration to build their first Solar Road Panel prototype helped the Brusaw’s win the $50,000 award from GE.

The panels consist of three layers, the road surface, the electronics layer, and the bottom base plate.

The surface layer provides enough traction to stop an 18-wheeler, yet still allowed sunlight through to the solar collectors. The weatherproof glass is lined with LED lights to provide safety assistance. The electronics layer uses a microprocessor board to sense weight and control heating. The amazing result is the money saved from not having to pay for snow or ice removal! At the bottom, the base plate collects the power and distributes the electricity to homes and businesses. Watch the video on their website.

Most impressively, Scott Brusaw talks about helping the environment in more ways than one, “We want to pull the garbage out of landfills and out of the ocean. We take that trash, turn it into little pallets, mix that with organic material to make the internal support structure for our solar panels.”

This new road would ultimately reduce power outages, fuel dependency, and reduce pollution, not to mention allow electric vehicles to recharge anywhere. During a time when the U.S. infrastructure is in dire need of revamping, the Brusaws present a solution that pays for itself.