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Scott Brusaw's 'Solar Roadways' Are Self-Sustaining Smart Streets

Scott Brusaw's Solar Road
Scott Brusaw believes he may have discovered an efficient method of covering and restoring damaged roads, and his revolutionary surface material could even adapt to changing traffic conditions. The system would also generate serious revenue, and -- most significantly -- power.

Brusaw's plan involves blanketing streets and highways with solar panels. According to Wired, "a cul-de-sac paved with [Brusaw's] solar panels could take an entire subdivision off the grid even on a cloudy day." Brusaw's unorthodox solar sheets feature a durable and unyielding glass casing, though, that would allow cars to travel directly over the solar cells without damaging them. If equipped with LEDs, the glass could also display speed limits, provide congestion information, and allow for lane and directional changes based on traffic conditions.

The Highway Administration provided Brusaw with an initial grant, but the project remains mired in his backyard "laboratory." Brusaw estimates "it would cost about $50 million to complete the research and get ready for production," but if he wins the ongoing GE Ecomagination Challenge, that funding will come.

GE's "innovation experiment" competition doles out $200 million to worthy winners, and Brusaw's Solar Roadways entry rests in 4th place. Voting is open to the public, so if you're inspired by student and citizen scientists -- and tired of government inaction -- you can help mobilize worthy concepts at the official Challenge site.

Solar Roadways

TED: Part 1

TED: Part 2

Tags: green, solar, solar panels, SolarPanels, transportation