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SBIR-STTR Success: Solar Roadways
When Solar Roadways received its first Phase I and Phase II grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the founders had no idea if others would share their vision for clean energy via solar powered road panels. Nearly seven years later, Solar Roadways is well on its way to transforming how we harness solar energy, and has some significant projects in the pipeline.
The company was the recipient of the 2017 Glass Magazine award for Most Innovative Glass Floor, Stair or Rail Project for its Sandpoint, Idaho pilot project. The installation was done at Jeff Jones Town Square and featured hexagonal glass-topped solar panels designed to be able to replace outdoor roadway and sidewalk surfaces. The walkable and bikeable 150-square-foot installation features 30 Solar Roadways SR3.3 panels, which contain solar conversion technology, heating technology and embedded LED lights that glow under sun or snow.
Solar Roadways utilized both the SBIR program and crowdfunding over the internet to achieve its capital goals. Within two months of setting up its funding page on Indiegogo, the company broke the site’s record, raising $2.2 million from donors across the globe.
Solar Roadways’s road surface solar panels are designed to perform like pavement, and can support the weight of heavy traffic, including semi-trucks. The difference is they contain LEDs that are capable of displaying signage, safety warnings, and road stripes. They also contain integrated heating elements that melt dangerous snow and ice. Electricity generated from the panels can then be used to power homes and businesses. Panels may also be installed in carparks to provide energy for electric car charging stations.