Environment

Sandpoint town square home to first public Solar Roadways panel installation

Sandpoint town square home to ...
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
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
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The Solar Roadways third generation prototypes sport over 300 LEDs with more than 16 million available colors
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The Solar Roadways third generation prototypes sport over 300 LEDs with more than 16 million available colors
The SR3 prototype is a 48 watt PV panel
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The SR3 prototype is a 48 watt PV panel
The city of Sandpoint, Idaho, is playing host to the proof of concept roll out, with 30 tiles now brightening up a town square
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The city of Sandpoint, Idaho, is playing host to the proof of concept roll out, with 30 tiles now brightening up a town square
The City of Sandpoint Jeff Jones Town Square a few days before the first public installation of Solar Roadways energy-producing panels
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The City of Sandpoint Jeff Jones Town Square a few days before the first public installation of Solar Roadways energy-producing panels
Solar Roadways gives Sandpoint locals a first look at the SR3 panel installation
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Solar Roadways gives Sandpoint locals a first look at the SR3 panel installation
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
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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
The Solar Roadways installation team putting securing the last few edge connectors
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The Solar Roadways installation team putting securing the last few edge connectors
Solar Roadways staff, volunteers and even Sandpoint's mayor pitch in to help install the panels
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Solar Roadways staff, volunteers and even Sandpoint's mayor pitch in to help install the panels
Visitors who can't make it to the town square in person can still check out the Solar Roadways installation courtesy of a 24-hour live webcam installed at the site
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Visitors who can't make it to the town square in person can still check out the Solar Roadways installation courtesy of a 24-hour live webcam installed at the site
View gallery - 9 images

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.

Solar Roadways gives Sandpoint locals a first look at the SR3 panel installation
Solar Roadways gives Sandpoint locals a first look at the SR3 panel installation

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.

Source: City of Sandpoint

View gallery - 9 images
12 comments
attoman
Solar Roadways has been trying to get a product to its very nascent market for some years now. Essentially a Mom and Pop operation out of their home, they have persevered. This winter in Sandpoint the tiles will take a beating. It's great idea and I hope it finally finds it's niche.
StWils
I am not exactly clear about the merit of this idea? A new challenge for script kiddies to hack into?
Bob Flint
What a ridiculous waste of time and money....
guzmanchinky
If these pay for themselves, and can be made reliable enough...
exadeci
Their first contract and they manage to have only 12 out of 30 panels working...
ljaques
I remember reading about these years ago, and they're still not ready for prime time? Sad. Whoever scheduled that press conference hosed it completely. My first question is whether or not they can be protected from becoming icy/slippery AND remain visible at the same time. The side view shows a pretty reflective surface. My second question is whether or not flat panels will be visibly effective to drivers. I guess a close third is time for ROI, as I doubt they'll be cheap. The 4th Q is cost effectiveness. These small solar panels will produce enough only power to handle each internal LED panel, right? It's not like they're powering up batteries to run the street lights. Good luck, SR.
MK23666
This looks like something better suited for patios/decks, pool surrounds, sidewalks and maybe driveways. I don't see it as a road surface.
Captain Danger
If you click on the link you can see a live view of the panels. As I type it is evening and the working units are flashing but there is no one around. I wonder if the panels will end up using more power then they generate.
BobJanus
Really??? has ANY ONE looked at the disastrous French and Netherland roll out of the EXACT same looney idea??? This "amazing" invention is ridiculously inefficient, impractical and totally cost prohibitive. Don't belive me??? Watch this very enlightened presentation from a real electronics expert. There are at least a dozen more presentations debunking this misguided potential waste of tax payers money and governmental support. https://youtu.be/HOZBrHqTJk4