Solar-roadway backers set crowdfunding record

CNET | May 29, 2014 | Column by Eric Mack

An Idaho couple has a vision to cover our roadways with smart solar panels. Turns out it's a vision shared by a record number of backers on Indiegogo.

You've probably heard that people love an underdog, but one couple's Indiegogo campaign to fund the manufacture of "solar roadways" seems to prove that longshot lovers are even willing to throw their money at an insanely ambitious idea, just because.

Scott and Julie Brusaw have been working for years to create smart solar panels that, when covered by special tempered glass, can actually replace roadways and parking lots. In addition to collecting solar energy, solar roadways also sport LED lighting, heating elements, inductive charging capability for electric vehicles while driving, and even some stormwater management abilities.

It's such a compelling idea that so far over 36,000 people have backed the project on Indiegogo, with total contributions of over $1.5 million as of this writing on Thursday. That surpasses the previous Indiegogo record for most individual contributions to a single campaign that was held by Mathew Inman's effort to raise money for a Nikola Tesla museum, which 33,000 people contributed to.

While most people have pledged under $100, including 11,000 pledging $10 or less, over 6,000 people contributed $50 or more, including seven pledges of $10,000 each.

The campaign still has two and a half days left to go, leaving plenty of time to boost that total even higher. Then the hard work begins of actually manufacturing and then selling major governments and companies on the viability of replacing their roads and parking lots with high-tech (and likely expensive) glass panels.

I've asked the Brusaws to answer some of my many questions about the future of this project. Check back with Crave this weekend for more details.

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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.