PHOENIX — The next bright idea in renewable energy might be solar roads.
Inventor Scott Brusaw of Idaho has been working on a project to make roadways multi-purpose by replacing asphalt with solar panels.
He told ABC NewsRadio that the power that could be generated from solar roads is enormous.
“Just a 15 percent efficiency we (would) produce three times more electricity that this country uses on an annual basis,” Brusaw said.
Valley solar advocate Bret Fanshaw with Environment Arizona said he likes the idea.
“We should be powering Arizona with as much clean solar energy as possible and that means putting solar on our homes, schools and hey, why not on our roads as well?” Fanshaw said.
Replacing every road in the state, let alone the country, would be a massive undertaking and there are questions about the durability and weather resistance of the panels. However, the Associated Press reports Brusaw’s company, Solar Roadways, has already begun testing the panels and they are being used in the company’s parking lot at their headquarters in Sandpoint, Idaho near Spokane, Wash.
Fanshaw said he thinks if there is one place a technology such as solar roadways makes sense, it’s in Arizona’s nearly year-round sunshine.
“Spokane gets about 170 days of sun a year and Arizona gets 300,” he said. “So I think we have a lot of opportunity here to use a technology like this.”
Coupled with Arizona’s strong solar industry, Fanshaw said he hopes to see the technology become feasible and eventually implemented in Arizona.