Solar Roadways are coming to historic Route 66

  • On December 5, 2016

co2cards_route-66        Solar Roadways are finally gaining traction in the United States. Scott and Julie Brusaw have been developing their energy-generating roads for the last several years, hoping to replace asphalt with solar panels that can withstand the weight of cars. Now they are bringing their dream to a section of the historic Route 66 highway in Missouri with the road poised to become the first public road in the United States to be covered in solar panels, thanks to a joint venture between the state of Missouri and an Idaho-based startup developing the technology.

Solar Roadways will be installed on Route 66 as part of Missouri’s Road to Tomorrow initiative, which focuses on improvements like smart highways and incorporating renewable energy. It will begin by installing its hexagonal sunlight-absorbing panels on the walkway at the Missouri Welcome Center in Conway, Missouri—but that could be just the beginning. The pilot program between the Missouri Department of Transportation and Solar Roadways could from there extend to the fabled cross-country highway.


The Sandpoint, Idaho-based startup first completed a prototype of its solar roadway tech back in 2010; since then, it has received funding from the United States DOT for multiple phases of further testing and development. The company has also received more than $2mil in crowdfunding via Indigogo.

Tom Blair, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) engineer who heads Road to Tomorrow said, “It gets Missouri and MoDOT prepared for 21st century innovations. We expect them to be in place, I’m hoping, by the end of this year, maybe before snow flies. If [Solar Roadway’s] version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves.”

It looks like there’s a bright future for the startup. Soon these smart solar panels could line more than just roads. Solar Roadways envisions their modules on surfaces from playgrounds to basketball courts and airport runways.

The first public solar roadway was opened last year in France, when a village in Normandy coated a kilometer of street in light-absorbing electrical generators—enough, the town hopes, to power all the street lights in the village.



For example, in Fresno, California, 92 percent of the rooftops are viable and if they reached full solar capacity, it would be equivalent to taking 261,000 cars off the road each year or planting 31 million trees.
    CO2 Cards Team
    This is a real example of how much more we can do if just look at what we have from different perspective. Thank you for this post, stay well!
Solar Roadways, started by Scott and Julie Brusaw, will build one of their solar roads on a section of Missouri s Route 66.

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