Eight years ago, Scott and Julie Brusaw had a vision of replacing the asphalt on American roadways and parking lots with energy-producing solar panels that are strong enough to withstand vehicular traffic. After a lot of experimentation and funding struggles, the couple and their company Solar Roadways just unveiled their first parking lot made of hexagonal panels! The road panels don't just harvest solar energy - they are also equipped with circuit boards, programmable LEDS, and a heating element that melts ice and snow, all covered in "super-strength" textured glass. The parking lot is equivalent to a 3,600-watt solar array.
Not only does the parking lot harvest energy, it also incorporates overhead utilities and repositions underground utilities for more efficient use. Power and data cables line a cable corridor alongside the parking lot, which provides easy access to power and data companies. This eliminates the need for overhead power lines and amazingly removes cell phone dead spots. The cable corridor is able to house all kinds of cables, including TV, fiber optics for high speed internet, and phone. Another function of this incredibly smart parking lot is to store, treat and redistribute storm water.
Though the Brusaw’s smart parking lot is operational, it still needs refinement to hit the commercial production stage. To this end, the couple have launched an Indigogo campaign that started on Earth Day, April 22, 2014. Currently, around 69 percent of the layer under the glass of each hexagonal unit is made up of solar cells, but the plan is to reach 100 percent. The funds raised through the campaign will go towards hiring a team of engineers and other professionals, streamline the production process and move into the manufacturing phase. The campaign goal is $1 million. You can donate here.