Solar Roadways installation nearly complete

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

The first ever public demonstration of Solar Roadways is only a week away.

Sandpoint city officials announced this week that the much-anticipated debut will take place Friday, Sept. 30, at Jeff Jones Town Square. The small demonstration project will allow residents to get a first-hand look at the technology while engaging and educating children.

The project will officially be unveiled at a 3 p.m. ceremony in Jeff Jones Town Square. The event is open to the public, and Solar Roadways co-owners Scott and Julie Brusaw will be available to answer questions and meet members of the public. Prior to the ceremony, the media will be able to learn more about Solar Roadways and the project at a 1 p.m. press conference.

“The weather report said it should be a good day for us to be outside, and we’re supposed to have some sun,” said  Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton.

The city is also offering live webcam streaming to the city’s website,, for those who can’t see the demonstration in person. The stream will include data about electricity generation and use.

Located near the town square fountain, the demonstration is 150 square feet in size and showcases many of the technology’s envisioned applications. The electricity generated from the panels will help power the fountain and bathrooms in the square. Heating elements in the panels are designed to keep the area free of snow and ice in the winter, while LED clusters can be programmed to light up in a variety of patterns, messages or designs. The project is planned with interactivity and family entertainment in mind—one proposed idea at the project’s announcement was to have the LEDs display a hopscotch course.

First announced in July, the Solar Roadway project is funded primarily through an Idaho GEM grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce and a grant from the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency.

At the meeting in which Sandpoint City Council members approved the project, Stapleton told officials Solar Roadways aims to upgrade the demonstration project as they produce new and improved panel models. Since Sandpoint is the company’s hometown, Stapleton said the Brusaws want to make sure their best technology is always on display.

“From where they are as a company in terms of development, this will be an important project for them,” Stapleton told council members.

The project will be a proof of concept for Solar Roadways as a walking and biking surface. The company eventually aims to expand the product for parking lots and streets, turning concrete and asphalt surfaces across the country into solar power grids.

According to Stapleton, the project’s unprecedented status slowed down the effort to get final approval from all Idaho state stakeholders. Now that the demonstration is near completion, however, officials are excited for the attention and interest in Sandpoint it will inspire.

The Solar Roadways demonstration is hotly anticipated, not just by Sandpoint residents but also the rest of the world. The company blazed into the public consciousness in 2014 when its crowdfunding campaign went viral.

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