Solar Roadway installation on track

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Solar paving panels provide a pathway for an itinerant pooch. —Photo courtesy Solar Roadways

SANDPOINT — The Solar Roadways installation is right on track for completion this summer, according to city officials. Designated for placement near the fountain in Jeff Jones Town Square, the project combines cutting-edge technology with home-grown innovation.

The company that pioneered the groundbreaking solar paving system has been headquartered in Sandpoint since 2006, developing rugged, break-resistant hexagonal solar collection panels for roads and walkways. Founders Scott and Julie Brusaw have been working with the city for several months to plan and prepare for the cooperative project.

"The first of our potential pilot projects to acquire their funding is our own hometown of Sandpoint! The installation will be in a walking area downtown near a fountain popular with children," they posted on social media April 21.

The city will pay for its portion of the installation using an Idaho Gem Grant with matching funds from the Sandpoint Urban Renewal District.

Meanwhile, the clean energy company has fielded another public project, this one nearly 2,000 miles away.

"Missouri’s Department of Transportation has announced plans to install solar panels at a rest stop alongside the iconic Route 66 as part of the department’s 'Road to Tomorrow Initiative,'" according to Ecowatch.

The swatch of sidewalk set aside for the project measures 12 by 20 feet, which can collect enough clean energy to power the rest area amenities, according to Ecowatch. This 240-square-foot installation is somewhat larger than that planned for Sandpoint, which will cover about 150 square feet. However, if all goes according to plans, the Sandpoint installation will be up and running before the team on Route 66 leaves the gate.

"MoDot says it's the first in Missouri, and the solar sidewalk could be just the beginning. MoDot is using about $100,000 of federal research dollars for the project. They would like to get the panels installed before the first snow," said KY3 reporter Linda Russell.

"We are currently ironing out the logistics and putting together a contract for Solar Roadways. We are most likely looking to a late July or early August install date," said Jennifer Stapleton, Sandpoint city administrator.

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