Solar Roadways Campaign is Back

Solar Roadways Campaign is Back

Solar Roadways Indiegogo Campaign

Campaign Update: Re-opened as InDemand Campaign; Original closed at $2.2M (220%)

The folks that inspired the Solar Freakin' Roadways Video are using Indiegogo to raise funds for their next phase of development. It seems that this type of solution would help achieve Tesla Motor's goal of electrifying transportation and the world. It seems that this is an excellent place to spread the word to interested parties.

Please take a look, spread the word and donate if you agree.

Solar panels that you can drive, park, and walk on. They melt snow, cut greenhouse gases and...

Skeptics vs. Nay-sayers

I think it is healthy, even vital that we attempt to better understand how Solar Roadways is expected to work and question their work. The thing to remember is that this has been a project for several years. Several third-parties have collaborated with them including several university material scientists who have figured out how to make "glass" that meets requirements for building a road. The main goal is to improve the roads, not just to generate electricity. So saying, "they should do roofs first" misses the point. They are using de-centralized power generation & transmission, engineered "glass", LED lights, heating elements, water treatment, and a "cable corridor" to improve how we build roads. The current roads need to be maintained, so there is existing budget for that purpose.

As one poster put it, you need to build them (roads or parking lots) anyways so it makes sense to improve them. I am hopeful that the folks they hire with their Indiegogo campaign will help them prove that it makes sense and can work at scale. They already have a driveway that they have used to verify their concepts.

Check out Samuel Simon's well reasoned reply to one of the more prominant nay-sayer videos.

The founders of Solar Roadways are actively responding to posts on Indiegogo, so if you have questions that are not covered in their FAQ (which is constantly updated), that's the best place to ask them.

Current Plans and Ideas

Also, I would be interested to see what a bunch of smart, well informed and electric-minded folks can come up with regarding other ways to improve and use the Solar Roadways solution.

Capture Solar Power on hardtops--roads, parking lots, paths, etc.
Include Cable Corridors and Water Drainage/Treatment
Improve automated driving
Use LED to "paint" the road dynamically and intelligently
Re-configure Parking Lots
Re-configure Playgrounds
Warn drivers of obstructions, animals and pedestrians

Some of My Ideas

Use LED to "paint" the road dynamically and intelligently

Warn drivers of on-coming traffic
Highlight cyclists as they move
Show correct lanes for highway entrances and indicate traffic conditions

JeffreyR | 23 mai 2014

I tried adding another link to this post, but it seems that doing so triggered a spam filter. So here is the direct link to the Indiegogo campaign.

Red Sage ca us | 25 mai 2014

OK. I had been ignoring this and similar posts. A trusted friend of mine posted about it on Facebook though. Now I see what it's all about. Seems pretty cool. Thanks!

negarholger | 25 mai 2014

And they just exceeded their funding goal...

JeffreyR | 27 mai 2014

That's great news @Kleist, thanks for the update! @Mr.Met also posted here about their White House Petition:

JeffreyR | 27 mai 2014

@Red Sage I totally understand your hesitance. I should have included some context as to why I felt compelled to post about this topic/campaign (this is my first thread, so I hope you'll forgive me). One of my oldest friends sent me a link to the video and backed it up with a "this is real!" and "I wish it would catch on" comments of his own. I immediately thought of this Forum, and decided to see how posting about it would work. I am glad to see I'm not the only one interested. Thanks for your support.

Dramsey | 27 mai 2014

It seems a very silly idea, unworkable/uneconomical from a number of points.

I wonder exactly what they plan to do with the Indiegogo money? If it's such a great idea, lauded by everyone from the DOE to Google, why did they need to turn to crowdfunding?

morgan423 | 1 juin 2014

Hi, Morgan here from the Solar Roadways volunteer support team.

Unfortunately the petition listed above is a dead petition (by that I mean, less than 100 signatures and no momentum). There's a different petition going strong that you may find at:

I recommend signing that one instead, as that's the one better publicized at almost 8k signatures at the moment. Thanks for your support!

morgan423 | 1 juin 2014

@ Dramsey, they are starting with crowd sourcing to maintain full control of the project. With investors, you end up with people to answer to and it can limit your options and control.

They may indeed end up having to make the company public, but they're going to do everything they can to avoid that path for as long as they can.

JeffreyR | 2 juin 2014

@Morgan423 your link to the White House Petition is broken (it includes session information for you). Here is the Twitter-friendly link that should work "forever" (or at least a very long time).

You should make sure to use this link when ever you promote this petition.

JeffreyR | 2 juin 2014

It's up to 7907 now:
J. R.
Galveston, TX
June 02, 2014
Signature # 7,907

JeffreyR | 2 juin 2014

@Dramsey I understand your skepticism. But, please take the time to read the FAQ that Solar Roadways has produced. It is quiet extensive and covers a lot of concerns. In addition, they have a "conservative" (you be the judge of how conservative you believe they are being) break down of how the numbers can add up. They have been working on this idea for several years, and it seems like they are being careful. Take a look, and let us know what you think.

Dramsey | 3 juin 2014

I did take a look, and, sorry, it's still a silly and unworkable idea.

Detroit SuperCharger | 3 juin 2014

Well . . . Elon must think they're feasible, as he contributed to the cause. That validates the concept to me.

As a non engineer myself, I still haven't seen ANY arguments (including those listed above) that have not been addressed by the SR team on their site.

Timo | 3 juin 2014

My main concern is wear and tear. Roads suffer quite an abuse by cars, and maintenance costs for that kind of road must be sky high. What about uneven thermal expansion of different elements involved? Thermal expansion is a force that can break pretty much anything if not handled correctly.

Nothing about that in FAQ.

Roamer@AZ USA | 4 juin 2014

A solution looking for a problem. Dumb idea.

With billions of sq ft of open urban roof space that can be shaded with much more efficient solar panels it seems like we are a long long way from needing to make solar roads.

Makes more sense to do the easy things first, rather than find the hardest, most costly, complex thing and do that first.

JeffreyR | 9 juin 2014

@Roamer I agree that they started with a pie-in-the-sky idea. The founders readily admit it. But they realized that IF they could meet certain requirements, then the kernel of the idea could work. It has to be safe and cost effective. They claim that the energy produced by their driveway prototype will "pay for itself" in about 10 years. I assume they mean the material costs. We will see if it lasts that long, and the assumptions hold true. As my boss used to like to quote, "trust, but verify."

One thing is certain. Their next round of cost projections and estimates will be scrutinized like never before. They seem up to the challenge. I hope they are.

Sorry for the lack of references. My iPad resets the text when I switch tabs. Argh! But you can see the info on their site.

JeffreyR | 10 juin 2014

@Detroit Supercharger pointed out a link to Solar Roadways' debunking common misconceptions web page:

Timo | 10 juin 2014

...which doesn't really debunk anything.

Timo | 10 juin 2014

For example "False Claim: Glass is softer than asphalt"

Nobody has made such claim. What was said was that "glass is a pretty soft material". Well, under that kind of conditions pretty much anything is soft. Point with asphalt is that it doesn't get any smoother when it wears down. Glass does. It does that rather fast.

"False Claim: Asphalt roads are cheap and maintainable"

Again, no-one has said that. Only that compared to solar roads that would be practically free.

JeffreyR | 12 juin 2014

I think the best response I have seen so far is @Detroit Supercharger"s:

Some vs. None - it's better to get something rather than nothing.


At the moment, I am only certain of this one thing--to claim certainty for or against the feasibility of Solar Roadways is to claim to know the future. And that, is the only thing I see here as entirely impossible, even if you guess, and you're guess is right--you never knew. So, we'll see....

As Solar Roadways Inc. says nobody knows how much the next generation version will cost. They do know what a ton of asphalt costs so they have a good target to shoot for.

There are countless ways that we can improve our roads. I'm still hopeful...

Detroit SuperCharger | 13 juin 2014

Thanx JeffreyR! Here's to hoping the Brusaws will succeed in paving the future with dynamic light and energy :)

JeffreyR | 14 juin 2014

@Detroit Supercharger you are welcome. I really appreciate your level-headed, positive posts. While at a kinder "graduation" party for my Twins yesterday, one of the dads mentioned how a couple of his colleagues were hit at the same intersection when responding to a fire call. He also mentioned how they developed routes for fires with paper maps and highlighters!

Imagine if when an emergency call came in, the whole route to the emergency lit up and the path in front of the RFID-tagged fire truck showed >>>> to clear the way combined with intersections being "blocked off" with LED warnings as trucks approached. They would be able to get to emergencies faster and safer. He thought it sounded great.

Detroit SuperCharger | 14 juin 2014

That's a REALLY great idea! Did you submit it to SR? Would literally pave a path to the accident / fire / etc,

JeffreyR | 15 juin 2014

@Detroit Supercharger thanks I have not yet. I was hoping to spark some similar ideas on this thread, but it has not worked. I think we have some healthy skepticism and some healthy optimism going at least.

BTW - did you notice the change in Supercharger strategy in the UK? They claim to have some city center-based ones planned. Not just between cities. I think they will finish their current intra-city SC sites here first though. Just more road to cover here. For example my "necessary" route is along the 10 in TX to P.C.H. in CA (Galveston/Houston to Santa Monica/LA). But I won't be able to leave Texas via the 10 until the last few planned SC sites are built. I hope I will have convinced my wife to move back to the Bay Area by then and make the whole exercise moot. I know I can get from LA to The City (SF) at least!

JeffreyR | 16 juin 2014

Interesting that SR Inc. sold out of the $150 solar cell pendants. Not surprising they did not sell out of $10K 7-inch copies of the 108 prototypes.

Detroit SuperCharger | 17 juin 2014


You should. It's a great idea. And one I have not yet seen discussed.

OIC. Allow me to contribute in that capacity then. Here are some other thoughts on Solar Roadways, that at this point, I do not believe have been discussed.

Speeding Control : Between all the cameras out there, and the pressure sensitive feature, it seems to me that All speeding tickets (or warnings) could be automated, almost completely eliminating the need for "speed traps".

Pregnancy delivery (just a spin on your idea). If you could "activate" an emergency indicator beacon when needed via your smartphone (sorta like 911 on crack). It could envelop your vehicle in a specific color, giving police force and those around you a quick visual indication of what's happening (kind of "stepped down" version of emergency vehicle routing)

Amber Alert / Criminal Location If they could be dynamically linked to cell phone usage, suspects in criminal investigation could be found quickly via the GPS in their cell phone. To some extent, this is possible already, but what if lights next to and behind you lit up while you were on the road (but not so much that the driver could see them) to easily visually show law enforcement that there's a wanted criminal in the vehicle, or that the vehicle was reported as stolen, etc

Traffic Control : I forget what the phenomenon is called, but basically, if people weren't constantly gunning and braking, there wouldn't be the "inch worm" like affect of traffic blockage on the highway. What if we could somehow "train" proper behavior into the general driving public? We could slowly eliminate the parking lot effect during rush hour.

Sign Perspective : Ever see those street art installations that are physically stretched to achieve a live "3d" look? I think the same could be done (to a certain degree) with highways

Dynamic Speed Limits : Perhaps this could be executed in conjunction with the traffic control "training"

Natural Disaster Warnings : i.e. Tornados, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Floods, etc could be flashed to warn drivers in danger to get to safety quickly.

Those are just some thoughts off the top of my Malbec riddled mind this evening.

SC UK : I DID see that announcement, which I reveled in. As it can only mean that a similar plan will eventually come to the states. Also, the immature side of me jumped up and down and wanted to say to all the naysayers that chastised me for "not knowing what SC's are for" and that anyone from Detroit couldn't "comprehend" the larger goals here . . . "Nya, nya, nya, nya, boo-boo, DaD likes my ideas better than you" :)

SR Incentives : I see they also added several new benefits too. I think they need a HUGE helping hand with marketing/information architecture and branding in general. When my next project launches, I plan to donate some time in that arena, and see if they'll accept it. I love the Brusaws, but they really need to look like they're more organized. The product development, execution, production might all be stellar. But from the site, and disparate marketing efforts, it looks like someone's nephew's friend put their stuff together (except the awesomely effective "Solar Freakin' Roadways" video, that obviously went viral).

I kind of think that 11 out of 100 10k perks sold is actually REALLY GREAT! I expected only a few might sell at that level. Probably bought by Gates, Musk, and others of their income bracket just for the hell of it.

Good luck on convincing the wife to move. I feel like any sentence that includes "convince" and "wife" probably has less of a chance of coming to fruition any time soon than the Hyperloop does ;)


Timo | 18 juin 2014

Speeding, do you ticket the car or the driver? In here if you can't recognize the driver you can't give ticket either. Also you would need to recognize the car anywhere, which means level of surveillance I'm not comfortable.

JeffreyR | 19 juin 2014

Thanks @Detroit Supercharger, I'll make sure to include your ideas too. I think @Timo's point about uncomfortable surveillance is apt. Maybe you could just highlight the car if it goes 15-MPH faster than the rest of the traffic (or some other value) and/or does erratic lane changes. Then the traffic cops could find them easier, but still need to pull the actual car+driver over. You could force the highlight to only show for a limited time or require another source of information. I think flagging a DUI via erratic driving would at least warn other drivers of the risk.

BTW-the campaign is closing in 27 hours. They are almost to $2.15M. Pretty amazing response.

Detroit SuperCharger | 20 juin 2014

@Timo : Good point. Though perhaps tickets SHOULD be attached to vehicles? Then there's a time frame / discussion as to which person in the household claims the infraction? Or all registered drivers at that address are penalized if not decided within a certain timeframe? Maybe not. Just spitballin'. I do like the idea of automating it though, if possible.

@JeffreyR : You're welcome. Please do. Timo does make a good point. It would have to involve changing laws, and everyone agreeing on what those changes should be. So, probably not likely. I digg your multiple info idea (erratic driving & speeding perhaps) being flagged.

2.15 : I saw that. They're only about 90k away from breaking the all time funded record (on IndieGogo, not Kickstarter). That sounds very promising to me. Happy to read about them being invited to the first White House hosted Maker Faire too. Perhaps something will come from that. Lot's of possibilities.

JeffreyR | 20 juin 2014

@Detroit Supercharger: I sent a long email to Scott B. at Solar Roadways with all our ideas and several of our comments too. Mostly from this thread and the "won't work" thread. I also included @AeroScott's example of glazed bricks in WI. They are really swamped right now, so I doubt I'll hear back from him, though Julie was responding to email at 11:30PM Pacific last night!

Here is what they are up to now $2,174,189 USD with less than two hours remaining.

JeffreyR | 21 juin 2014

$2,200,961 USD per @Detroit Supercharger That's a new Indiegogo record!

Detroit SuperCharger | 22 juin 2014

Well, unfortunately JeffreyR, not quite. They're about 50k shy of the record. I was half tempted to take a out a second mortgage on one of my rentals just so I could give them the record-breaking-bump :) Alas, practicality (and feasibility) kept my drunken gesture of good will in check :)

But 2.2mill!?!?!?! That's kind of FREAKIN' aMAYzing. Very excited for the Brusaws, and looking forward to monitoring their next moves.

aeroscott | 22 juin 2014

I was thinking about all the other alleys in the area. A very few are still brick . With a lot of settlement , but with individual movement, hardly any cracked bricks.
The alleys that have been paved have had repairs and resurfacing.

JeffreyR | 23 juin 2014

Sorry will use real math next time.

Solarwind | 23 juin 2014

My son works for the Hwy Department here in Montana. He said they have been trying different things for heated Hwy's . There is huge savings in cost by not plowing and sanding / salting, but the big savings they are looking for is in lose of life and property, due to icy roads. Not even mentioning the saving environment impact.
If the solar road could be built to last, even at 10+ times the cost of asphalt it would be a huge bonanza, asphalt requires rebuild and maintenance at a rate of 5 years or less.

JeffreyR | 23 juin 2014

@Solarwind, thanks for reminding us that not everything is about dollars and cents. The Solar Roadways Inc. folks did include a video about this topic in their campaign called, We CAN Have Safer Roads with Solar Roadways. It features folks involved in and affected by a crash on a twisty highway. Be warned there are some detailed pictures and x-rays, so not appropriate for little ones.

JeffreyR | 17 février 2015

From the IndieGoGo Updates section:

Since closing our campaign, we've had numerous requests for making additional donations and collecting Solar Roadway perks that were no longer available.

Well, great news: Indiegogo invited us to join their InDemand Program and we went live today! It's at the same site it's always been, so please stop by and see our new page and updated information.