smart streets and solar roadways produce energy for the power-grid
smart streets and solar roadways produce energy for the power-grid smart streets and solar roadways produce energy for the power-grid
may 14, 2014

smart streets and solar roadways produce energy for the power-grid

smart streets and solar powered roadways input energy into the power-grid
all images courtesy solar roadways




in 2012, designboom covered the first prototype stage of american electrical engineer scott brusaw’s system of solar powered roads. conceived as an initiative to change the face of national highways by re-purposing them with photo-voltaic panels, the idea for ‘solar roadways’ was to introduce smart streets capable of directly inputting energy into ‘the grid’. if realized, the concept could essentially power an entire country with the generated electricity.


to learn more, or to help fund the project, see the indigogo project here.

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED's

 artist’s rendition of a sidewalk/parking lot application in sandpoint, idaho




now in it’s second prototyping stage, the project has been further developed as a modular photovoltaic (PV) paving system that can withstand the heaviest of trucks – up to 120,000 kilograms. the plan would see the ‘solar road’ panels installed on highways, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths and even playgrounds.

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED's

the parking lot is fully functional with solar cells, LED’s, heating elements, and the textured glass surface




the system is based on centralized power stations, and distribution is handled through transmission lines and relay centers. each panel has its own microprocessor, which communicates wirelessly with the surrounding panels – they monitor each other for malfunctions or problems.

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED'sexcess power produced by the system can feed surrounding neighborhoods

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED'sthe full size hexagons utilize 36-watt solar panels, with a 69-percent surface coverage by solar cells

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED'sthe panels can withstand the heaviest of trucks – up to 120,000 kilograms




electric vehicles will be able to charge with energy from the parking lots and driveways, and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.



testing loads with a tractor

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED'sthe LEDs can be programmed to dimmed or even turned off

solar powered roadways by scott brusaw come to life with LED's
render from the original concept in 2012
image courtesy dan walden



  • I love it! Thank you!

    Ilya Bourim says:
  • Go to the Indiegogo page and you’ll find links to the Solar Roadways FAQ and Numbers pages.

    Phoenix Woman says:
  • Thats an Awesome Idea

    Roberto Manzari says:
  • Marvelous!

    Alexander K says:
  • Yeah but what’s the coefficient of friction…. There’s a reason concrete and rubber are used for roads and tires.

    Jim says:
  • This is so clever. It looks smart, it’ll probably be easy enough to maintain and its green. It’s the future.

    Hudson says:
  • What about turning the wheels on very heavy machinery. The twisting of a tire while it is going around a corner or just turning in place and emergency braking at higher speeds. I think this is an absolutely wonderful development and I hope that we can all benefit from it soon.
    The developer or manufacturer of this product would need some protection provided by municipal agencies to protect them from getting dragged into accident lawsuits. We know how people look for something or someone to blame in order to gain financially. It would be a wonderful development!

    Ron Smith says:
  • This is the one. Bye, bye OPEC, bye, bye fossil oil.

    nelsondreyes architect says:
  • they need to apply this on roads in Israel,California or Australia! GO-GO start with small pilot in small country ;)))!!!
    This is a most innovative,smart and useful idea. But with all stupidity of politics we can loose it…. and stay in 19th century with poor roads and gasoline cars…..

    huiase says:
  • that’s wonderful idea,please keep going and cogratulatings

    turhan says:
  • very good idea… there is one thing i am curious about though, the dust and dirt on the roads will reduce the efficiency of the solar panels drastically… someone will have to constantly clean the roads… or maybe they can introduce some material which somehow cleans itself … hmm
    keep developing it .

    raza khan says:
  • Maybe they could start with the yellow line middle-of-the-road part. That way people wouldn’t be driving on it ALL the time, just occasionally when changing lanes or such. Let’s not kid ourselves as to how robust a highway needs to be.

    RelayerM31 says:
  • does not take into account the carbon intensive & polluting nature of mining & manufacturing processes of computers and solar panels. Low Tech Magazine published articles covering both, if you’re looking for “green” this is not it. Agree with the coefficient of friction reference mentioned above, cars won’t grip glass anywhere near as well as tarmac

    cor says:
  • Well we’ve heard of things that are “Too good to be true” but this one is neither good nor true. This blunderful idea would cost 3 times our national debt in produced silica sand alone. Anyone that applies a hint of common sense should realize a glass product can’t compete with the durability and comparative low maintenance of asphalt roadways. Has anyone thought about the high skilled manpower per cubic foot that would go into something like this? What about repairs?

    Ronald Slaton says:
  • I understand the concerns but this idea is very early on in the conceptual design phase. Naturally this will go through endless iterations before even being remotely considered to be used on our roadways. One of the biggest challenges will be manufacturing as many of you have brought up. No one is saying this thing is ready to go, but its entirely possible that over the course of the next 10 years new manufacturing methods can be developed which are cheaper, more efficient, and less damaging to surrounding environment. This includes the acquisition of necessary materials for manufacturing. So before you just crush it and say “never going to happen”, how about you look at it from a design perspective and say “very clever idea that needs work to achieve a production ready state”

    Danny says:
  • what is the coefficient of friction on the surface. I’ve looked everywhere across the internet and i cant find it. this would be valuable information for making informed decisions/defeating naysayers.

    Robert says:

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