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Solar Highways

Julie and Scott Brusaw from Sandport, Idaho saw the potential in the heat harnessed by roads. These roads are a necessity, but take up a lot of space and are in constant disrepair, much to the chagrin of weary commuters.

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We live in a world of urban jungles, traversing the country on winding asphalt and concrete surfaces. Although these surfaces get so hot that you can “almost fry an egg on them” in the summer, we just careen over them without thought. Julie and Scott Brusaw from Sandport, Idaho saw the potential in the heat harnessed by roads. These roads are a necessity, but take up a lot of space and are in constant disrepair, much to the chagrin of weary commuters.

While thinking about global warming one day, Julie speculated about placing solar panels on roads to collect solar energy. Not long after she told her husband Scott about her idea did they endeavor to make it into a reality. Placing solar panels on roads provides an efficient and innovative use of the essential expanse devoted to roads while hopefully saving the planet in the process. Not only would paneled roads help combat global warming but they make people’s lives a lot easier.

At the beginning about half the people thought we were geniuses and the other half thought we were off our rockers – Scott Brusaw

For instance, road maintenance is irksome and unfortunately necessary in seasonal climates where roads become mangled after a long, cold winter. This irksome construction often occurs in the spring or summer months when there are a surplus of commuters trying to enjoy the warm weather. The United States actually loses about 165 billion dollars per year due to people being stuck in traffic jams – this is because employees spend a majority of their time in traffic jams reducing the hours they could be working. In a capitalist economy, traffic jams are just plain unproductive. Instead of replacing an entire section of the road, electric panels could be easily replaced, allowing construction workers to target a specific section that is in disrepair. Another aspect of roads that could re-configured with the new paneled roads of the future, are the road lines etched into their surface. Instead of painted on road lines, roads will contain LED lights increasing nighttime visibility and reducing late night traffic accidents.

The greatest benefit of these roads however, is their ability to harness solar energy that powers the very communities that use them, creating a co-dependent sustainable infrastructure. In fact, it is not only roads that the Brusaws see as having solar-harnessing potential but sidewalks and parking lots too – which is quite a lot of potential. The first parking lot prototype is in the works and will hopefully be ready in the next couple of months.