Fall 2014

Julie Brusaw

Gaining Traction with Solar Roadways

Submitted

JULIE BRUSAW (‘91, Psychology) and her husband, Scott, are paving the way to a more sustainable future. And many, including the national media, are taking notice.

The couple founded Solar Roadways, an Idaho company that recently raised $2.2 million in a crowd-funding campaign for a solar-paneled road project that could revolutionize America’s transportation grid, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and alleviate global warming.

Their goal is to replace the country’s entire asphalt road system with super-strong textured glass panels that would charge electric vehicles with energy from the sun and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The couple recently finished a solar parking lot prototype with funding from the Federal Highway Administration. And in recent months, their idea has gained traction. After receiving several celebrity endorsements, their YouTube video went viral (17.5 million views at most recent count), leading to a barrage of media attention and a flurry of monetary donations.

The Brusaws plan to use the recent funds to hire an engineering team and test their technology. They’re also hoping the financial boost will help them perfect their concept, which has been years in the making.

Julie has always been interested in sustainability. “I’ve always cared deeply for the environment and that is one of the things that brought me to Humboldt State,” she says. Scott, an electrical engineer by trade, became interested in electric roads when he was kid. “I thought if I made real roads electric, then us kids could drive,” he recently told CNN. “That thought stuck with me my entire life.”

It wasn’t until a few years ago that Julie suggested they explore the idea of replacing traditional roads with a solar alternative. They spent years developing a design which incorporates features such as LED markers, a heating function and a way to treat storm water.

“It’s a wonderful thing that my husband and I have founded a company that we believe will help halt climate change, make our planet cleaner, greener, power electric vehicles with clean sunshine, and create more