Artist's rendition of Sandpoint, Idaho - Home of Solar Roadways. Graphic artist: Sam Cornett
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
It could be the end of salting and plowing roads in the winter and make huge changes in energy costs at the same time.
An Idaho company wants to pave roads in the Kansas City metro with solar panels that could capture the sun's energy and make roads safer and more efficient.
The company said the "roads of the future" could save big on energy costs and change the way we drive.
The viral fundraising campaign has attracted 32,000 donors who have raised more than $1 million for a test unit in Idaho. Even Missouri Department of Transportation engineers like Chris Redline can't help but smile at the idea of roads that pay for themselves.
"It's definitely a great big idea. MoDOT's always open to cost-effective solutions if they're truly cost-effective," he said.
It's too early to know whether a solar roadway could catch on in Missouri or not. MoDOT said it would need to do more planning and research before even considering the idea.
"Initially we're going to have to see some testing on some lower volume roadways to see whether it's even viable for heavy traffic. From what I understand, there has been no road testing on this at all yet," Redline said.
If the roads do stand up to the test, they could power cities, alert drivers to street hazards and even melt away snow and ice.
Drivers and engineers alike are trying to keep an open mind about the idea.
"Sounds pretty cool. Whatever saves some money," said Josh Delorier at a gas station Tuesday.
"I think it's a good idea to look into alternative sources of energy," said Janice Cade, who was also stopping by the gas station.
"It's an interesting concept, a very interesting concept. MoDOT's always open to trying new things," Redline said.
Click here to check out the company's crowd funding website.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:12:05 GMT
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