"We've just completed our first prototype Solar Road Panel with funding from a U.S. Department of Transportation Phase I SBIR contract. Phase II involves a commercialization plan to begin the manufacturing process," said Scott Brusaw, President and CEO of Solar Roadways.
The Solar Roadway is designed to carry vehicles, generate electricity for messages to drivers, self-heat to melt snow and ice, and deliver high speed phone and Internet cables to households.
The Solar Roadway is made of structurally engineered solar panels that contain LEDs for painting the road lines from beneath the surface, a heating element to prevent snow/ice accumulation in northern climates, and a microprocessor board for control and communications.
The guys also did their first test of their pedestrian warning system. “When the kids step onto the crosswalk panel, the Road Panel warns drivers to slow down. In an actual system, the road would warn drivers in plenty of time to stop. The wildlife protection feature will work in much the same way,” the team says.
The team behind the project hopes they will make a contribution to economic recovery, estimating that installing the Solar Roadway on every road in the US will employ 2.5 million people full time for 10 years (!). That without the manufacturing jobs that will be created to make the components in the road panels. However, the main problem Solar Roadways have is lack of funding.