Sandpoint town square home to first public Solar Roadways panel installation

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Solar Roadways has programmed a few random LED patterns, but the City of Sandpoint plans to allow the public to interact with and change the displays(Credit: Solar Roadways)

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Over 2 years after the laying a bunch of solar harvesting hexagonal panels at its Idaho electronics lab, and 11 months after revealing its more powerful and more colorful third generation units, Solar Roadways has completed its first public installation. The City of Sandpoint, Idaho, is playing host to the proof of concept roll out, with 30 tiles now brightening up a town square – though not all of the panels are operational at the moment.

The 150 sq ft (14 sq m) installation in Sandpoint's Jeff Jones Town Square is made up of 30 SR3 panels. Where Solar Roadways' second generation prototype was a 36-watt panel, the SR3 is the same size but is rated at 48 W, made possible by replacing the panel mounting holes with edge connectors. The new units each include four heating elements to help keep the installation free of snow and ice and over 300 brighter, daylight readable LEDs with over 16 million available colors.

Though now laid down and switched on, not everything went exactly to plan with the installation. Manufacturing difficulties meant that some of the SR3 panels were not fully operational at the time of the public reveal. The working units were placed in the center of the grid and surrounded by dead panels. Solar Roadways aims to swap out the non-working units as soon as possible.

Sandpoint officials plan to allow the public to interact with and modify the light show soon, and future plans for the town square include free public Wi-Fi and the roll out of electric vehicle charging stations. A live stream video feed is available via the source link below so that visitors who can't make it to the town square in person can still check out the Solar Roadways installation.

A second pilot project will see Solar Roadways panels installed in a sidewalk area in Conway, Missouri, at a rest stop along Route 66.

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